The parsonage life (life in full-time ministry) is full of some wonderful blessings. Seeing people saved, and then watching them grow is the highlight of it all! Then there is the joy of the fellowship with our church congregation each Sunday and Wednesday, and again at any time of Bible study or other activities associated with the church.
There are times of visiting our people in their homes, in the hospital when they are sick, or having them in our home to encourage them, perhaps through counseling in a difficult time or in preparation for marriage.
There are high spots of going to meet the brand new baby that’s been born and being able to cuddle that little one and to rejoice and have prayer with the new parents. There are the weddings; those happy celebrations of young love and all the fun that goes with helping them prepare for their big day. It’s all of these times together that knits our heart to the hearts of our people. We grow closer to them, and love them so very much.
But then there are hard times, like funerals. An article I posted recently from another pastor’s wife said that when a pastor and his wife lose a member in death, it’s like a part of their own family. How true. Our church family becomes like family to us, and when we go through those hard hours of waiting with the family while their loved one is dying, it rips our hearts out. We grieve for our own loss, and we grieve with the family that is experiencing the death firsthand.
Such was the case this week as we witnessed one of our dear members exchange the hospital for a celestial home with His Savior. Jim Ward was a man who loved his God. He had in infectious smile and a hearty handshake! One of his responsibilities at church was that of “greeter.” He served this role well; welcoming folks as they walked in and treating them to one of his outrageous smiles and engulfing handshakes. No one could have entered and not felt warmly greeted when Jim was on duty!
Jim was also a very generous man, never flinching at the opportunity to share what he had with others. We were the benefactors many times of his unselfish heart.
Jim was also a hero to our country. He began serving in the army when he was only 14! He was so big for his age that when he lied about how old he was, he was never questioned! He received many medals of honor for his heroism. Because of his service, he was granted a military funeral. It was here, in this beautiful military cemetery in Johnson City, that Jim was buried on Monday. Hearing the rifle shots and taps being played tugged at our hearts, but we were comforted as my husband brought our attention back to the Scriptures and reminded us that Jim was not here. Absent from the body; present with the Lord. II Cor. 5:6; Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. Ps. 116:15
Monday was one of those tougher days in the parsonage, but it was also a day of blessing because we know that we will see Jim again. What a wonderful day it will be when we are all gathered on heaven’s shore! There will be no days of sorrow as we serve the Lord then; there will only be joy!
Oh, and when we get there, you’re welcome to come have a peek inside my
parsonage mansion! All you’ll see is smiles!
Today’s housecleaning challenge is to clean the linen closet. Since I did that last week, I think I’m going to tackle a bedroom closet. Come back at 6 PM and I’ll post my pictures.