Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…

To be quite honest, I have no idea what waits for us on the other side. Will the streets be paved with gold? Will there be streets at all? If there are heavenly choirs, would they have room for one like me who cannot carry a tune in a bucket? To be quite honest, the Bible has very little to say about heaven, and I have no real concept in my head of what eternal life on the other side might look like. But I am quite sure that we will only live once in this world. Our time on Earth is finite, not infinite. We will only pass this way once and that makes this a limited and precious resource. Recently, I had lunch with Bob Olson. In the final chapter of his long and productive life, he is quite reflective. Life is not easy for anyone Bob’s age, aging is not for the faint of heart. Our lunch was placed in front of us, we shared a prayer and then Bob said, “Every day is a gift, what are you going to do with the gift?”

I was looking for my golf ball. Had it been where it was supposed to be I would not have had to look for it. The ball was last seen headed for a small stream far left of the fairway. Eyes peeled, I scanned the water for a dimple, I looked in the mud for an entry hole. Keep in mind I have been honing these skills for 55 years. Then I was startled by a frog. The frog was crossing the stream with intention. I watched him swim for a moment, and then I noticed a leaf as it slowly passed the frog and me. It was caught in the current of the steam, no intention, no destination in mind, it was simply aimlessly going with the flow. To quote the great theologian and philosopher Yogi Berra, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.”

The confluence of these two events got me thinking a lot about the importance of intention. I have stood waist deep in the Jordan River many times over the past 28 years. Trinity Pilgrims dressed in white, stumble into the water, shocked by cool temperature. They meet me there where Jesus once met John the Baptist. They have come to be baptized or to renew their baptisms. We talk briefly about their life in faith and why this moment is so important to them. Some were baptized as babies, carried by parents who have long since crossed over to the other side. When the moment is right, I ask them a simple question, “Is it your intention to follow Jesus Christ for the rest of your life?” Once they have answered in the affirmative, they are immersed in the waters and arise to a tearful hug.

If you only had a few weeks to live, would you live with intention? Would you consider more deeply your daily choices, the people you wanted to spend that time with, the cards that you would write, would text messages be replaced with phone calls or visits? Are we more like the frog crossing the stream, eyes focused on the other side, or are we more like the leaf, aimlessly going with the flow? This new year has just begun, the challenges and opportunities of 2024 are before us. I would encourage to answer the question that I ask in the Jordan River, is it your intention to follow Jesus Christ for the rest of your life? That confession of faith should lead us to live life with greater intention. For we are called by our baptism to ministry. Wherever God puts you this day, is your place of Christian ministry.

In all honesty, I have no idea what waits on the other side, I can trust God for that, but I do know that my days here are numbered and Bob Olson’s words echo in my mind, “Every day is a gift, what are you going to do with the gift?”

Live with intention my friends. Never ignore the gift that God has given you and do not ignore the calling that God has entrusted to you.

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

Pastor Jim

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