The driveway was full out on Bittersweet Farm on Friday. We had a Thanksgiving meal with a big bunch of our family. The ground was covered with snow. It made things festive and created a holiday feel. When the families come over there are toddlers and babies and small children everywhere. Our hearts are filled with love and with thanksgiving for God unwavering kindness and mercy.
My message at Bethel Sunday was aimed at things that darken the human spirit. It was entitled A Dozen Ways to Be Happier. I will attach it to this post. Maybe it will cheer you up a bit!
Today I added some very special books to my personal library. Most of my books have a story behind them. Here is one of those stories about one of those books.
Books and Poems and Words
I love to putter among my books. Ideas come to me then, sermons, articles, and stories. Memories spring into my mind and heart among my books in the soft light of my study.
Before I began to build my own library, at about 14 years old, I would spend long hours on Sunday afternoons puttering around my dad’s library. One Sunday afternoon I found a book of poems by Alfred Lord Tennyson. I read “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” “The Eagle,” and “Crossing the Bar.”
Dad is thinning out his library these days and I discovered it among the ponderous commentaries and theological works he gave me. He added this to his library when I was ten. Now it is a part of mine. In 1968 it sold for 35 cents, but it is a treasure to me now. I was an easily-distracted, hyper-active kid, but took time one Sunday afternoon to taste the rhythm and rhyme of words set to poetry. It was one of the many ways God used to make me a “word man.”
For forty years I have made my mark and fed my family and paid the bills and tried to be a blessing to others with written and spoken words. Words from the pulpit. Words of counsel and encouragement. Teaching words. Words to lead in a multitude of meetings. Words in messages at camps and conferences and words across the table between messages. Words when people are born and when they die. Words to dedicate infants and words at baptisms. Words for when they graduate and words for when they die. Words typed and hand-written. Words whispered and words proclaimed. Good news words and warning words. Commending words and even sometimes words of rebuke and correction. Words over coffee or a shared meal. Words arranged for maximum impact and long retention.
Proverbs records: “From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruits.” (Proverbs 18:19-20)
Words are powerful things. May God help us use them artfully, thoughtfully, and lovingly. Now I’ve gotten wordy, I suppose.
November 18, 2019