Labels: Sons of Oil
This scripture is very comforting, particularly in light of the fact that so many believe that the Christian life is a boring cheerless life. The fact is...the Christian life is the most joyous life one can possibly have. God wants us to enjoy ourselves in spite of our difficulties, because when we do, we are practicing what we will spend eternity doing.It is so important to see the roses in life and not just the thorns. I am not suggesting that life does not have an ample supply of ups and downs, but I am suggesting that it is up to us to decide how we are going to view them. If we only focus on the thorns of life then our experiences will reflect that. However, if our focus is on the roses of life then our experiences will reflect that as well.
To change our focus from the thorns of life to the roses of life we could begin by focusing on the simple pleasures of life. We can start by enjoying a beautiful sunset, the innocence of a baby, and a good laugh with a friend or going to bed with a full stomach. These are only a few of the simple pleasures of life that will help redirect our focus.Growing up as a country boy in East Texas in the 40s and 50s and working hard on the farm taught all of us how to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.
As for me...I enjoyed swimming in the creek, eating a fresh watermelon in the patch, riding my horse on a lazy Sunday afternoon or getting together with the families on the adjacent farms and making homemade ice cream.Before I had a car I particularly enjoyed catching a small passenger train that stopped in our little town. I would ride it twelve miles to another small town that had a movie theater. Seeing a good western movie on a Saturday night was all I needed to spark my very vivid imagination. As I rode home on that little train, lazily bumping its way down the tracks, I would stare out the window into the dark and relive every scene of the movie. The only difference was I imagined myself as the "good guy" in the white hat. I imagined riding my horse better and shooting my gun faster and winning the heart of the girl in the movie quicker.
I realize that these particular things are no longer done, but there are other simple things in life that are just as fulfilling.I suppose the point I am trying to make is that the circumstances in life should not rob us of our joy, unless we allow it. God wants us to enjoy the fruit of our labor regardless of the difficulties of life.
Thank you for giving us the mind of Christ which gives us the ability to renew our mind, helps us to choose life rather than death, and joy rather than sorrow. I particularly thank You Lord for teaching me to enjoy many of the simple things of life while riding our little slow moving passenger train that bumped its way down the tracks taking ordinary folks like me home.
The thought of dying certainly causes one to take another look at living. For one to make a contribution to life while still living is a big enough challenge. For one to think about making a contribution that will continue on after they die is another matter. The majority of people probably do not think about this subject one way or the other. The persons whose contributions live on after they die seem to be the only ones who are remembered.The thought of living life and not being remembered is a sobering thought. Regardless of how sobering the thought of living, dying and at some point being forgotten by upcoming generations is part of our way of life. There are a few folks who are never forgotten because of their contribution to life; such as an author, composer, inventor, and so on.
Even though many folks are remembered for their contributions in life, there are others who have also made contributions but are not remembered. Such was the case with the young man in the following story.Last year my son-in-law invited me to go deer hunting with him on his East Texas hunting lease. When I arrived in camp he told me a story of an old abandoned graveyard he had discovered while out hunting. I was so intrigued by his story. The next day he took me to see this old abandoned graveyard.
Over the years trees had taken over this old graveyard so that it did not look any different than the rest of the forest. The graves were covered with dead trees, limbs, leaves, brush and debris.I was strangely drawn to one particular grave. As I knelt down and began raking the leaves, limbs and debris away from the face of the headstone, I discovered it bore the name of Lee Garner. Lee was born in 1893 and served in World War I as a private.
I followed up with some research, and visited the old graveyard a couple of times after that. I found out that after the Civil War in the eighteen hundreds the entire community had been settled by a group of black pioneers. These black pioneers built their own community, started Mount Reah Baptist Church in 1877, and farmed the land. Apparently they had dedicated this small plot of land for a graveyard.Lee Garner was born and raised in this community and probably, like everyone else, plowed the fields of the family farm with mules. His father John Garner was one of eight deacons of the Mount Reah Baptist Church and Lee was probably baptized in the local creek.
When Lee was old enough he served in WW I as a private. Lee probably never did anything heroic or invented anything special or even composed a piece of music that would cause people to remember his name. However, for some reason that day while raking leaves and limbs away from his gravestone I decided to write about Lee. I decided to let my readers know that almost a century ago, Lee Garner's life counted (at least for a short time).For the majority of folks to live, die and after a while be forgotten, is a natural part of life. If others are remembered for their special contributions to life, then Lee Garner can be remembered for his contribution of serving in the military.
I suppose the point of this writing is that all of God's children count and contribute something to life. Some may be praised for their contribution while others are not. Some may be respected and seen as irreplaceable when they die, while others are soon forgotten. The contribution to life from ordinary hardworking folks like Lee is probably better pictured through acts of kindness to his fellowman. This of course is the result of being raised in the good Christian home of his father Deacon John Garner, as well as learning the Golden Rule early on in Sunday School at the Mount Reah Baptist Church.Father,
Help us to be thankful for the Lee Garners of the world who contribute to life even though they are seldom remembered. Lord, being a sacrificial giver to life was Your idea and You set the pattern for the rest of us to follow. Lord, I choose to follow your lead.