Headlines from First Thoughts

Friday, July 21, 2006

54 years and Counting

Rafaello David and Bathsheba 1515

There's a side to David's life that is awfully tempting to preach. It goes something like this, "If you don't do what David did, then your life will turn out even better." In other words, "If you don't sleep around with women, if you're nicer to your kids, if you have healthy boundaries, and go to church each Sunday, then you won't have to deal with Baathsheba, the loss of a child, Absalom, and the like."

I know, however, plenty of God-fearing childless couples as well as Christ-loving dysfunctional families. Our relationship with God isn't based on a formula of good works=easy life. Most of the time, things work out fine; and most people have relatively good lives when they follow the Lord. They aren't immune to problems, but their relationships with God helped them through the issues. It did not get them out of the mess.

I've been reflecting on all this over the last several weeks as I've preached through David's life. On Sunday, the journey comes to an end; I get to go on vacation after that. But smack dab in the middle of my series, I saw the sermon lived out.

I was visiting a nursing home one Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks ago. Kelly and little Parker were galavanting in Florida on their annual two-week-break from me. So I took the opportunity to do things I don't normally do on Sundays. Like show up for the lunch bunch at the nursing home. I met some folk who watched us on tv, but I was really there to see two of our best church members in action. Each week, they go back to the place that both of them spent many weeks caring for a dying parent. They return so that they can love on those who have no children to care for them. They feed meals, hug, touch, and smile at people who can't smile back.

As I pushed the elevator button to go back to my car for the rest of my "busy" day, I complimented them for their ministry and thanked them for their faithfulness. The wife said to the husband, "I've been with him for 54 years, and you know, I wish I could just tell the young people that you're going to need somebody to wake up beside when you're older and take care of you."

Their lives haven't been easy, but they have stayed faithful. And their obedience in the nursing home is one aspect of many different ways they serve. And they live out a story that's even better than David and Baathsheba, David and Absalom, and David and everyone else. These very real people have made it, and they're still going strong 54 years later.

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