The Pastor’s Piece – February 21, 2021
Fellowship of Christian Farmers
February 21, 2021
“R & R”
My wife and I just got back from a little vacation. We were gone for ten days. It was during that cold snap where it was below zero everyday and it snowed a lot too. We missed it all, but when we got back to the airport, we found our truck buried in snow – literally buried. There was a snow drift that started on the ground behind the truck and filled the truck box and went all the way up over the cab. I didn’t have a shovel so I brushed it off with the scraper brush as best I could and we headed out. The whole way home we blew a fine mist of snow on the cars behind us. I was that guy. (I still had to shovel it out when we got home).
But enough of that, I want to talk about our trip. We went to southwest Florida where the sun was out everyday and temperatures were in the low 80’s. Sometimes it’s hard for me to get away and relax because I like to work. Sometimes when I get away I don’t relax because I’m constantly thinking about what’s taking place back at home. Not this time. Before we left, I asked God to help me relax on this trip.
It had been exactly one year since I had taken a Sunday off. When the Coronavirus hit and we changed up our Sunday services to be outside instead of inside; and we rearranged our parking lot and added new technology; and when all the people starting coming, there was so much going on every week, I just didn’t feel right taking time off and leaving everybody else to try to figure all that out. Plus, I didn’t want to take time off. Every Sunday brought so much new excitement, I didn’t want to miss a thing.
But it was our anniversary. We always try to get away and do something special during our anniversary time of year. And besides, every year on February 14th, it’s winter in Wisconsin. Nothing says enjoy like sunshine and 80 degrees. So off to Florida we went. It was a bit sad because instead of the airplane being packed with people like it used to be when we went to Florida, there were only 30 people on board (I counted). The plane holds over 200. That is not sustainable.
We did the usual vacation things while we were there. We went to the beach … went to the pool … ate outdoors at our favorite restaurant … did some sightseeing … and got plenty of R & R. God is good.
One day while we were soaking up the Florida sunshine I received a text message from a couple from our church asking what we were up to. Turns out, they too were in Florida and we arranged to meet up with them. It was very fun. They came over in their cool little rented sports car (they upgraded), and we sat around and talked and reminisced and just had a grand old time. Someone said, “It’s really sad we have to travel all the way to Florida to have time to visit with each other.” But it wasn’t sad at all because no matter where we are, when we meet up with friends, it’s always great. When it was time to go our separate ways, we gathered in a circle and thanked the Lord for good friends and unexpected blessings.
Our anniversary was on Sunday. As is our usual practice, we went to our favorite church that morning and worshipped with a bunch of like-minded Christians. I had made reservations that evening at a restaurant in Naples called The Boathouse. We had not been to this particular place so it was fun anticipating what to expect. You never know what you’re going to find when you choose a place off the Internet, but it had all 5 Star reviews so I figured the odds were pretty good it’d be a nice experience. And it was.
We sat in a wide open dining area that overlooked the bay where boats were slowly passing by, continuously coming and going as the sun set on the Gulf in the background. Trying to describe it doesn’t do justice to the reality of the experience. It was dark by the time we left. At the door, a couple asked us to take their picture and we chatted a bit and in just a couple of minutes made some brand new friends. Everybody is happy when they’re on vacation. You really should try it sometime. Someone from Wisconsin texted me while we were there and said: “Kevin, being in Florida right now, is a foretaste of what waking up in Heaven will be like.” If that’s the case, then in the words of the Apostle John: “Come, Lord Jesus!” I’m ready for Heaven.
We even had an impromptu prayer meeting in front of the pool one day. We were talking to some new friends and one of them said he was going in for surgery next week. Someone else said we would pray for him. My wife asked, “why don’t we pray for you now?” So we all held hands in a circle and prayed for our friend Phil. There wasn’t even time for sanitizer.
And by the way, Florida is open for business. The restaurants are packed with people. The businesses are packed with people. Merchants are buying and selling. People travel about unhindered, unafraid, and without fear. Public officials are encouraging people to return to their usual ways of life like they were used to before the virus hit. It was a great vacation. We’ll be back. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor can the mind comprehend the things God has in store for those who love Him,” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
(Kevin Cernek is Lead Pastor at Martintown Community Church in Martintown, Wisconsin).