Pastoral Relief and Retreat

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Wethersfield, CT, United States
I am Pastor at Poquonock Community Church, Congregational (CCCC) in Windsor, CT. My wife Jama and I live in Wetherfield, CT. We'd like to invite you to Terre Haute -- High Ground -- That's what Jama and I call the retreat space on our property. We offer free intentional get-away retreats. We'll feed you and house you and give you space to be with the Lord. All are welcome; no questions asked. This blog is my daily devotional journal. I write it because it is so easy to go for weeks without ever taking the time to be alone with God. Writing helps me develop a discipline I need.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Interview

O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.
Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens.
You who have done great things, O God, who is like you?

You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again;
from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again.
You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.

I will also praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing praises to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel.
My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed.
And my tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long,
for they have been put to shame and disappointed who sought to do me hurt.
(Psalm 71:17-24 ESV)

One Day, at Widget Manufacturing Company

“Mr. ben Jesse?  Mr. Schopenhauer will see you now.”

“Come in!  Come in young man and have a seat.   Ben Jesse, is it?  Hmmm… David.   Can I call you Dave?”

“Yes sir.”

“I see here in your resume that you’ve held three jobs before this.  You were a sheepherder of some kind; then after that you did a stint in the army; and more recently you’ve been a harpist and some kind of poet.  Is that right?”

“Pretty much, sir.”

“How does all that fit together?  You seem to be a bright young man.  But I just don’t see any consistency in your career track.  Why do you keep jumping from one thing to another?  What’s your goal?  I mean, what are you aiming at, career-wise?”

“Well, Mr. Schopenhauer… you see… that’s the thing.  From my youth God has taught me, and I still proclaim his wondrous deeds.”

“I see.  And you see this as a definite career path?”

“Even to old age and gray hairs.  O, I don’t want God to ever forsake me.  I want to proclaim his might to another generation, and his power to all those to come.”

“And why is that?”

“Because, sir, his righteousness… God’s righteousness…reaches the high heavens.
He has done great things!  I mean… who is like God?”

“That’s all well and good, young man.  But what does that have to do with you getting a job here at WMC?  What qualifies you to be a floor supervisor for us?”

“God has made me see many troubles and calamities.  He will revive me again; from the depths of the earth he will bring me up again.  HE will increase my greatness and comfort me again.”

“That’s a pretty impertinent statement.”

“I mean no disrespect, sir.  I’m just saying that if God wants me to be a floor supervisor for you, he will make it happen.”

“You’ve had a kind of hard life then?”

“I don’t think so.  I’ve been able to praise God with the harp for his faithfulness; I’ve sung praises to him with the lyre. My lips will shout for joy sometimes, when I sing praises to him; my soul also sings, which he has redeemed.  And, as you can see, sir, my tongue also talks of his righteous help all the day long.”

“I like you, young man.  But David… Dave… There’s one thing that stands out on your resume as a real negative.  You didn’t get a very good reference from your last employer, a man named Sol… Something-or-other.”

“His name was Saul.”

“Yea.  I think it has to count for something that you were working for royalty.  But you should have heard the kind of faint praise he gave you.  'Plays the harp adequately.' 'Not much of a warrior, though not bad with a slingshot.'  But this one statement, 'Not sure I could trust him.  More and more worried he was after my job.'  What am I supposed to do with that?"

“Well sir… Mr. Schopenhauer… They have been put to shame and disappointed who sought to do me hurt.”

“Hmmm.  Alright, ben Jesse.  I’ll give you a try.  You can start Monday.”

“Gee, thanks, Mr. Schopenhauer!” 

I had a friend back in Connecticut, Price van der Swaagh, who built a good-sized metal fabrication business.  He always said that Christians were intended by God to be what he called vocationally Christian.  That is, our chief business in the world is to praise God and testify to his wonderful deeds.   And while the fanciful dialog above didn’t happen in 1000 BC and doesn’t often happen today, David writing that he won’t be satisfied until he has proclaimed God’s glory to the next generation is a challenge I want to take up.

Our new grandson, River, needs to hear about God, not just in a general sense.   He needs people in his life who will testify – from his birth – about the great and glorious deeds of God and his grace and kindness revealed in Jesus Christ.  He needs to hear about lives transformed by daily knowing and living with Christ.  He needs to hear that there is salvation in no other.  He needs to know people in his life who have no other vocation, no other allegiance, no other claim than to know Christ and make him known to the world. 

My faith has found a resting place,
 Not in device or creed;

I trust the ever-living One, His wounds for me shall plead.
I need no other argument, I need no other plea,

It is enough that Jesus died, And that He died for me. 
-- Eliza E Hewitt, 1891


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