Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…

“The grass withers and the flower fades.” Isaiah 40:8

When I was a teenager, it seemed that I was always hungry. I could eat most anytime, and when ordering food at a restaurant, or gathering around the family dinner table, I always wondered if there would be enough food to satisfy my hunger. Now let me be clear, I never wanted for food, shelter, clothing, or comfort. We rarely ate out as a family, but a couple of times a year we would join my grandparents or cousins at the “House of Plenty” restaurant. As the name implies it was an “all you can eat buffet.” This event was a much-anticipated special occasion; a real treat, especially for growing boys.

The buffet line not only had endless options, but it also provided an endless supply of food. My father, a child of the depression, would say, “Take as much as you want, but eat what you take.” I would tell you that I savored every bite, but that was not the case. When the supply is endless, savoring takes a back seat to overconsumption. The occasions of “savoring every bite,” took place when the portions were limited or scarce. That last piece of pizza, the last few bites of hamburger, the final helping of lutefisk, those bites were savored. (Just kidding, I did not eat the piece of cod which passes all understanding.)

There was a time when the animals, the oceans, clean air, majestic forests, and oil seemed to be inexhaustible resources. They were viewed as food in the buffet line, consumed, over consumed, not savored. The reality is clear, “the grass withers and the flower fades.” Nothing lasts forever. Resources are finite, the years grow shorter, most of us are much closer to the finish line of life.

My question for these opening days of 2023 is quite simple, “If it’s limited, how will you use it, savor it, spend it, experience it?” Our time is a precious resource. How would you like to use the time you have left? Our energy is a precious commodity. How would you like to use the energy that you have left?

If your next conversation with a loved one or friend was to be your last, what would you want to say? If this Sunday were the last Sunday in your life, would you want to be in church to hear Karl sing, or perhaps one more boring sermon would make departing this world easier. If your time and energy is limited, how can you best savor it? Do you really want to spend that precious time watching Fox News or MSNBC?

Jesus repeatedly tells us not to be afraid, not to worry, not to fret, borrowing trouble in a world of trouble. My prayer for you and me in 2023 is that we might live with intention. Don’t float along with the current like a leaf in a stream. Live with intention. Recognize the fleeting nature of life and the precious resources that have been entrusted to you. Make intentional decisions about how you will use your time, your energy, your money, and your focus.
If it’s limited, how will you use it?

See you in church tomorrow, the church where everybody’s welcome!

Pastor Jim

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