I am in the middle of my tenth decade of life (95) passing through wherever God through Jesus Christ is taking me. I think, maybe, there is still something they want me to do. Time will tell. I walk a little slower, take more frequent naps, forget some things but on whole, my brain still is active and I have my memories, love and hope.
I cannot remember a time when I did not know or feel the presence of a loving God. I think, as a youngster, my most frequent conversations with God were "Forgive me God." Seems like I still say that occasionally. Over the years I have been blessed in a thousand ways (give or take a lie or two) for which my response has always been "Thank you Dear God." Always, this has been accompanied with an unbelievably warm feeling of fulfilment both spiritual and personal (sometimes not sure why this Grace but always thankful).
The greatest Blessing thus far in this passage of life is and was my bride (Betty Anne) for some sixty three years. She led me to Christ as a wife, mother, companion and fellow traveler. A girl from Illinois and a boy from Michigan met in Connecticut during WW II, working at Chance Vought Aircraft. We married in 1945 at The Congregational Church in Fairfield, Connecticut. The Blessing at the end was in the name of the Father. We moved to Dallas with the company in January'49 with one and 8/9 girls. We got our Texas Citizenship (thanks to some dear friends) three years later.
I came home from work one evening and Betty Anne said, "A Methodist pastor and his wife (Charles and Kathleen Denman) stopped by. They are starting a Church down at Bachman Lake. I would like for us to go." We went.
It was a tremendous experience for me. A small group of warm caring people dedicated themselves to this church. We met in the Boy Scout Hut at Bachman. We set up chairs and took them down for each service. Joe Drake played the portable organ (which we still have). Betty Anne had transferred her membership but would not join unless I did. I was not born into a Christian family and I listened and studied but had not yet accepted Christ. The membership grew and with the land Highland Park Methodist gave us we started the Church home where it now is. We, of course gave as we could to the building fund and budget.
One morning (sometime after we had moved from Bachman to Walnut Hill) I woke knowing without any mental reservation or equivocation that Easter had happened. Therefore Christ was and is. I was baptized into Walnut Hill Methodist Church with my two oldest daughters some 65 years ago.
I have studied, read copiously, listened, prayed, questioned, learned and rethought about Christ, God and their relationship to me, to us for these 65 years. I know that this sojourn is a passage to the next scenario with Jesus and God. I know that their unbounded love and grace is there for our asking. Just hold out your hand.
One of the books I have read is "The Cost of Discipleship" written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It was first published in Germany in 1937. His biography is in itself a tremendous read. He was an ordained Lutheran Pastor absolutely and utterly opposed to Hitler and was hanged just before the Allies moved into Berlin. The book covers Bonhoeffer's review and views of the "Sermon on The Mount" and "Beatitudes" found in Mathew. The Sermon on the Mount (probably the greatest ever given) is Jesus words to his disciples detailing their requirements to be his Disciples in spreading his message. Since this is the only place in the Gospels where these requirements are delineated, it is reasonable to assume that they apply to all of us. Read them and see if you as an individual can be responsive to them.
Jesus was fully human when he walked the earth with his teachings. He was fully responsive to God with no chasms between them except possibly in the garden when he prayed to not be crucified. Who among us can have no reservations to a full response to this sermon? Therefore we have the position that it is an "impossible possibility" to be a fully responsive disciple of Jesus. That does not suggest that we don't continue to try but the salvation is in knowing that God loves us just as we are.
There are two Russian proverbs that always come to mind. "God is in the rowboat with you but you have to row if you want any direction" and "There was a Russian farmer who had a tremendous rock in the center of his favorite field. He couldn't figure out how to move it. So he prayed to God for a solution and God replied "Push." So he pushed and pushed and there was no movement. Again a prayer. That night God moved the rock, and when he thanked God the reply was, "I just asked you to push, not to move the rock."
The God and Jesus I think I know today as compared to 65 years ago are monumentally greater. God has a tremendous sense of humor, unbounded Grace and Love with a depth of understanding and knowledge that is beyond comprehension. And what is it that God and Jesus want from us in return for all they give and offer?
Only our Love-nothing else, Aha, now they've got you!
You cannot love God without thinking about Stewardship, Discipleship and Fulfillment. What you, as an individual, contribute in talents, funding, sharing and discipleship is between you and God. There is no minimum or maximum. You might want to set a goal, as I did, in monetary giving, attendance and participation. If and when, you meet your goal you will find a feeling of fulfillment - spiritual and personal. Then you will realize - there is no maximum or minimum with Love. Try it!
GRACE, PEACE, SHALOM, BLESSED BE, VAYA CON DIOS