Today’s Word From Pastor Jim…
Who said we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us?
Sir Isaac Newton, the famous English Scientist, was by all accounts a genius. Born in 1642, Newton was a visionary genius who helped lead the Scientific Revolution and launch a period of human enlightenment. Newton was a mathematician, astronomer, alchemist, theologian, and author. His work on the laws of motion and universal gravitation were groundbreaking scientific advancements. Very few in human history have left a mark greater than Sir Isaac Newton.
Newton was a genius and yet he understood very clearly that his achievement did not happen in isolation. “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Newton was not literally standing on the shoulders of giants. He simply recognized that his ideas didn’t come from him alone. His greatest work relied heavily on the ideas of those who came before him.
Mitch Albom is a New York Times bestselling author. He has written a dozen or more books including a great read, “Tuesdays with Morrie.” If you have not read it, I would recommend it. Albom writes these words: ”We move through places every day that would never have been if not for those who came before us. Our workplaces, where we spend so much time–we often think they began with our arrival. That’s not true.”
We have been moving through a season of funerals and now we are approaching Trinity Lutheran Church’s 70th Anniversary. As I sit at the feet of the dying, officiate at their funerals, and walk the halls of our beloved church, I am reminded that we occupy the space that others have sacrificed to give us. We are standing in line, taking our turn, doing our duty, stewards entrusted with the legacy of those who have gone before us.
Just days after Labor Day, just weeks from Veteran’s Day, I pause to consider all that has been given to me. I eat from trees I did not plant, I attended schools that I did not build, I drive on roads paved by the sweat of others, I fly in planes constructed by my neighbors and fueled by an oil infrastructure mostly hidden from my sight. Left to my own devices, I would not have crossed the Oregon Trail, I could not hunt or harvest enough food to stay alive. Everything I have and everything I am, is a testament to those known and unknown who have labored before me.
There are no self-made women or men. We are indebted to the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker, to our parents and grandparents, to those living today, and to those whose names have been long chiseled in stone.
My response is to say thank you and to work diligently to leave a better world to our children and grandchildren.
”Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and get gain”; whereas you do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:13-14
Every day is a gift. Everything we have and experience is a gift, we arrive and depart with nothing. Give thanks and take your place in the line of those who have gone before.
One beggar telling another beggar where to find bread, I am your