Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…

The words of Jesus, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.” Matthew 6:28-29

The year is coming to an end, 2023 will slip silently into the history books replaced by a new year and a predictable rhythm of monotony, adventure, and uncertainty. The end of the year was wearing on me, a flare up of bursitis was making sleep less than restful, full calendars were interrupted by death, which added grief and funerals to the mix. The end of the year was wearing on me and then I was stopped in my tracks by an unplanned interaction. Every day I see dozens of people, some need family or spiritual counsel, others just need an ear, a prayer, or a hug.

The conversation in the cereal aisle of Payless began as many do: “Pastor Jim, how are you?” My usual response would be, “never been better,” but the end of the year was wearing on me. I replied, “All things considered, I am fine.” The unexpected response gave me cause for reflection. “So, you have not been busy, you must have lots of time on your hands?” Quizically, I said, “It has been very busy.” The man smiled and said, “Then certainly you have not had the time or capacity to do that.” “To do what?” I asked. “To consider all things. That is a serious undertaking. And I am guessing that if you really had the time and capacity to consider all things that your response to my question would have been different.”

The day moved on from there, I returned to the church with my oatmeal, but my mind was stalled in that earlier conversation. Mentally spinning, I reflected upon the profound framing of my life journey as offered by a casual happenstance meeting in the aisle at Payless. Had I considered all things? Had I ever considered all things? The end of the year had been a little challenging, but those challenges were most certainly first world in nature. Had I ever considered all things? I was born in a land of freedom and opportunity. Neither were earned by me, rather, they were given to me by the blood of patriots, by the sacrifice of my parents and by the visionary foresight of our nation’s founders. I have eaten fruit from many trees, but I have yet to plant a tree myself. I have driven on roads constructed by others. The schools I attended were built and paid for mostly by those who came before me. I do not have food insecurity, my home is comfortable, hot water arrives on demand, technology connects me with the world and my neighbors on Whidbey Island live and work in relative safety. Like the lily of the field, very little of what I have and what I have become can be credited to my hard work or wisdom.

If I really had time to consider all things, then I would be able to recognize that I have been blessed to a degree unknown to previous generations and to most of the world today. I have it better than 99% of the humans who have gone before me. All things considered, I guess that makes me a one percenter. Blessed to be a Blessing!

All things considered or should I say many things considered, I am more than fine, and it is time to pay it back and to pay it forward. May 2024 be a year of generosity, gratitude, and careful consideration of the many blessings that have come our way. Happy New Year!

One beggar telling another beggar where to find bread, I am your

Pastor Jim

Contact Pastor Jim if you have questions at [email protected]