The world view is all about chasing the elusive dream. Some, through work and endless sacrifice, will achieve those dreams of prosperity, fortune and fame. The elite minority can have anything they want and go anywhere they choose. Still, the question remains... are they happy?
A few years back, "The Good Life" was a television show that represented couples and families who walked away from the busy, urban bustle to embrace fuller living. Literally... they quit good jobs, sold their lavish homes and moved to more rural or even remote places.
Their new lives were simple, humble and radically different. They stopped chasing the elusive dream and put down their swords, tired of slaying the corporate dragons every day. They found work or sold goods they created. More significant, they found respite in the slower pace and real relationships unearthed in their new found communities. They discovered they could breathe again.
It was fascinating to watch them learn things like gardening, raising goats, creating soaps or making their own wine. Did they have regrets? Only that they could not or did not make the change sooner.
This post is not meant to disrespect urban living or corporate America. For some, the sound of the subway brakes is the equivalent of a rooster's crow, waking up the soul to start the new day. For others, the ding of a new email fuels their burning desire to take on the next big challenge. Each one of us is unique and the Father delights in the promise and possibilities inside of each one of us.
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. -Ephesians 11:1 (The Message)
I grew up with the most amazing man in my life. He was like a second father. His name is John Story. He was my best girlfriend's father and my pastor through my pre-adolescent and teen years. He was a mentor and a coach. He was absolutely the master of being fully present in people's lives... treating everyone equally.. the wealthy and the homeless. His wife, Sandy, was perfectly chosen by God to be his mate. I learned so much by simply watching how they lived, shared, worked together and loved.
My Dad often referred to John as a shepherding pastor. Dad nailed it. I remember many a teenage sleepover when the phone would ring and off he would go to a congregational member, neighbor or community member in need. I remember Sandy checking in on him to see how he was doing after a rough night in the role of pastor. He has spent his life offering it up to the Lord's service, pouring into the lives of those around him.
John is talented with cars and a sewing machine. He did reupholstery, supplementing his small church pastor's salary. He could have done many things because he is a worker. To this day, he cuts bookmarks out of leftover leather and shares them along with God's love with every opportunity. Like Jesus, working with his hands is still an opportunity to get to know those around him. I will be eternally grateful... I mean the "in Heaven" kind of eternity... for his constant love and patience... reflecting the Lord of his life.
The last time I saw him was at a visitation. He and Sandy are still one of the sweetest couples I've ever had the privilege of watching live out the great commission. They taught me unforgettable lessons about real living. It makes me realize I need to stop in and say hello. My time when I am home is usually full of family things. I need to make the time for a visit.
Today, I am grateful real living is in Him.