It's been almost 2 years since we stepped down from full time ministry. It's hard to believe it's been that long. But God is good. Larry needed a little bit of time to breathe, be fed and just relax for the first several months after we left the church. But it was less than 6 months before he was yearning to preach & teach again. He was given several opportunities at our church to lead a Sunday School class and loved that. Now and then he has been called on to preach a funeral or serve in some other pastoral capacity. But in the past 6 months, he's been given quite a few chances to fill the pulpit for an out of town preacher or at a church where they were searching for a pastor candidate. And he's LOVED it. I love seeing him in his element!
This morning, we drove to Grace Bible Church for Larry to preach. The church has an affiliation with our church so when their pastor is out of town, they call to have our staff help them find a fill-in. Today it was Larry's turn. He spoke from 2 Kings 4:8-36 about Elisha's involvement with the Shunnamite woman and her dying son. He talked about getting involved in ministry, not just throwing money at it or paying it lip service. In the story, Elisha met & became acquainted with a woman from Shunam. She & her husband created an apartment (more or less) on the roof of their home for him to stay when he came through town doing ministry. Elisha became a part of their family & was welcomed into their home. He prophesied that the woman would have a son after years of barrenness. She had a son & several years later, he was out working in the fields with his father when he got sick. He came into the house & died in his mother's arms. She carried his body up to Elisha's bed and layed him there and then sent someone to go find Elisha & bring him to their home. Elisha went to the boy & prayed for God's help and then layed his body over the boy's. He got up, prayed some more & then layed down on the boy again. While it may seem VERY odd to us, Elisha was following what God asked him to do. The boy came back to life & God got the glory for it! Larry talked about getting involved with and forming relationships with people who don't look like "pretty church folks" and going out & getting your hands dirty. I sat there hearing Larry speak & knowing that my sweet husband has spent many an hour getting dirty, holding hands, praying over people and living life with them in the trenches of life. He's sat on the Hospice bed, holding hands with dying men and women. He's put together & run the little details of an emergency shelter for hurricane victims. He's served dinner on fine china to homeless men & women at Thanksgiving. He's built houses for the poor. He's been to homes of people to share a meal. He's camped out in a hospital waiting room while a child lies lifeless in the ICU, begging God for a miracle with the family of the child. He's changed diapers and helped single mamas with their little ones when their earthly fathers deserted them. He wasn't speaking out of vanity or to raise himself up & look good. In fact, he never once mentioned anything he's personally done in his sermon this morning. He talked about JESUS. He talked about how HE touched the lifeless, how HE held the hopeless. He talked about how HE ate with sinners and met the needs of the needy. It was about about Him! I love that about my sweet husband. He never speaks out of vain motivation, but he really knows what he's talking about because he lives what he preaches!
Larry had to deal with some work stuff tonight, so he couldn't go with us this time, but the kids & I went to the local homeless shelter with some of the youth group from church to serve a meal. I'm so glad to do things like that with the kids. Watching them step out of their comfort zone, put on the armor of God & act like Jesus to people who need to see HIM....wow. I am a blessed woman. And ya know what? When Larry planned this morning's sermon, he didn't even know what the kids & I were going to be doing tonight. I love how God worked out the details, had the kids sitting there listening this morning, and then helped us put the message into action tonight!
God is so good!
3 years ago