Good Folks, it is Friday, September 13, 2019. If all goes well, I would have been in a training event called, Intentional Interim Training Seminar, in Palestine, Texas. This training is done, so that as a retired pastor I could be asked to be an interim pastor of a church during a moment of crisis, when the pastor is gone for any extended period of time, or a vacancy during the appointive process. Excellent training for a possible future event. FYI: I am not retiring yet.
I have used this story on previous editions of Frankly Speaking. Enjoy.
A man was watching his 80-year-old neighbor plant a small peach tree. He inquired of him, “You don’t expect to eat peaches from that tree, do you?” The old man rested on his spade. He said, “No, at my age I know I won’t. But all my life I have enjoyed peaches — never from a tree I planted myself. I’m just trying to pay the other fellows who planted the trees for me.” –As quoted in Paul J. Wharton, Stories and Parables for Preachers and Teachers (Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1986), 33.
All leave behind something. First, I believe that we should leave this world in a better place than when we entered it. For some, that means leaving it financially in better shape. For others, their world would be in order. Maybe a song commissioned to talk about God’s love. Maybe a timely hug; a hand held at the right moment; or a cup of cold water served to a homeless child of God? Nevertheless, there are still others who ponder the question of what will be etched on a headstone. Will there be a bronze plaque in the church somewhere with my name on it?
When I came across this story about a man planting a tree whose fruit he would not taste, he was thinking of the unknown, others before him who did likewise. We are blessed because we stand on the shoulders of many who graced the halls, classrooms, pulpit, choir loft, pews and numerous committees of the church before us. Who, at times, has wondered if their lives by prayers made, presence seen, gifts given, and service rendered in some form or fashion, really made a difference? The answer is yes! I encourage you to reflect on what you will plant and perhaps whose fruit you might not harvest, yet will bless the ones coming after you…in life, in the church, and community. Everyone leaves a legacy. What will yours be?
Blessings from Duncanville,
Pastor Frank (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God. (Wm. Carey)