The Pastor’s Piece – April 7, 2024

The Pastor’s Piece


April 7, 2024

The check is in the mail. Somebody did some work for us and when he was done, he sent me an invoice. I wrote out a check and mailed it to him. As a joke, before I sent it, I took a picture of it in the mailbox and said: “The check is in the mail.” About three and half weeks later he sent me a text asking if I’d mailed him the check. Of course I had. So I did a quick search and discovered that it hadn’t gone through the bank, so I guessed it got lost in the mail. As I was preparing to cancel that check and send another one, I received word that it had arrived that very day. Apparently it had gotten snagged going through one of the machines at the Post Office – as it came to their door all mutilated, in a plastic bag, with a note attached apologizing for the mishap. No harm. No foul.

Speaking of getting lost … I was working on a project to put new outdoor lights up on the garage attached to the house. That is a rather easy project to do, but tends to take me a little extra time. I always say, I can do pretty much any project around the house, it will just take me a bit longer than the other guy. So, I changed out the necessary hardware and matched up the corresponding wires and connected them with the wire nuts provided and set the light in place on the outside wall. It took a couple of tries to get it all exactly the way I wanted it. The way I see it, I’d rather put in a little extra effort to get it exactly right, than to settle on something less than perfect and have to look at it that way every day for the rest of my life. And, when I’m not rushed, I thoroughly enjoy such projects – no matter what they might be. 

The final step of installing the new light was to use two little decorative threaded caps which were painted the same color as the light fixture to attach the unit to the house. They were very small and my thumb and index finger are not. The first one went on without incident. But as I was attempting to attach the very last piece of the project, I dropped the little cap. I heard it hit the downspout on its way down, but I did not see where it landed. There was a shrub immediately below set in decorative stone. That area encompassed about 2 square feet all around. And do you think I could find that little threaded cap? I searched and searched to no avail. I got down on my knees and searched every square inch of that space.

Finally, I took a break and went into the house and had a cup of coffee, thinking it would do me good to get away and come back with a fresh look. I also said a short prayer asking God to help me find it. I know this seems trivial, but the Bible says we are to cast all our cares upon Him, because He cares for us, (1 Peter 5:7). I wasn’t being vain or selfish. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack and I simply needed help. And God cares about the little things as well as the big things. 

When I went back out, I took my phone, set it on camera, enlarged the lense, and scanned the whole area, looking between every stone. At last, my eyes fell on the tiny little decorative cap. It had nestled itself up against the trunk of the shrub. I took a picture for memory’s sake then reached for it with my thumb and index finger only to feel it slip from my grasp down into the soil. Upon closer inspection, I found that just below the surface of the trunk, where the root was growing, there was a hollow hole about the size of a softball, and that’s how it got away from me again. So, now I lost it a second time. My heart sank. But if God can do it once, He can do it twice. I took handfuls of dirt and set them on the concrete sidewalk, sorting through each pile until I found it a second time. 

Speaking of the satisfaction that comes with finding something – my wife and I found a new friend the other day. I’m not very good at guessing someone’s age, but based on what he told us, I would guess he was in his late 70’s. As we approached each other on the walkway, he didn’t even say hi – he just started talking like we were old friends. He started right in by telling us that he bought a house in 1997 for $245,000 and today it was worth $675,000. He told us how he was a permanently disabled veteran who had four children – 3 sons and a daughter. Two of his sons were lawyers and his daughter was a school teacher. His youngest son was 19 years old. His wife had given birth to him when she was 45. His grandfather was 5 feet, 6 inches tall, weighed 145 pounds, had a dark complexion, and was of Jewish descent. His grandma, on the other hand, was 6 feet, 5 inches tall, blonde, and weighed 450 pounds. Their 19 year old son was 6 feet, 5 inches, and also weighed 450 pounds. We have no idea why this gentleman chose us out of all the others walking past at that moment, but he did. He was very happy to tell us his life story and we were happy to listen. When he turned to go, I thanked him and said, “God bless you.” As he walked away, he shouted back to us over his shoulder and said, “God bless you too!”

I love these “random” encounters with people we meet on the street. Who knows but we might meet again in heaven someday.

(Kevin Cernek is Lead Pastor of Martintown Community Church in Martintown, Wisconsin).