Some boys dream of playing in the World Series. Some dream of building racecars or bridges or skyscrapers. Some boys dream of fighting fires or saving lives. Since I was a boy I have had a dream of having a study with bookshelves lining the walls of the room, floor to ceiling. Every shelf is laden with fascinating books.
Shortly after I arrived in Fremont my study was remodeled and today the entire room is lined with book shelves floor to ceiling. It is a wonderful place to work. Above the books on the top of the shelves I display my coffee cup collection.
I could serve coffee to about twenty people in my study and each of them would have their own unique cup and each cup has it’s own special story. Each story is a reminder of one of the roles I play in the world. Each story is a reminder of a sweet privilege and a sobering responsibility for which I will one day give an account to God.
I have cups from places where I learn and grow. They remind me that I need to be a life-long learner and to find new ways to humble myself every day. Always learning, always growing.
I have cups from places I have spoken and sung and told stories and taught the Bible. They remind me to pray for the people whose lives I have be privileged to touch.
I have a cup from a publication I have written for and it reminds me of the thousands of people who’s lives I have touched in a small way who I haven’t yet met.
I have a couple from places where my children have received special training. These remind me of my duty to train and disciple my children and pray for them through out every day of my life as long as God gives me breath.
I have three cups that serve as reminders of the privilege and responsibility that I have of pastoral care. One has a passage from Ephesians about the pastor/teacher printed on it and two others are from small fictitious towns.
They are towns described in books and radio programs. The towns are make-believe, but they are true to life. One is from Garrison Keilor’s Lake Wobegone, Minnesota and the other is from Jan Karon’s Mitford. They are towns like the one where I live. A little like a modern Mayberry, where people live and laugh and love and weep and sin and die. In little towns like this people have hopes and dreams and heartaches and pain. Towns like ours need pastors like me and churches like ours. They wouldn’t be what they are without the influence of pastors and churches and the people of God doing what they do together.
I have cups that remind me of the people who are dearest to me in the world. I have one from my wife, some from my children, and one from a brother-in-law who is dear to me. I like to say that every one of us has a small network of people who we will influence in a profound way. That influence will be for life and eternity, but we only have a short time to do it.
Those are just some thoughts that wandered through my head this morning while I was waiting to hear the coffee maker gurgle. What stories would your cups tell?