The Pastor’s Piece – July 24, 2022
The Pastor’s Piece
July 24, 2022
Sometimes God brings very unique people into our lives for reasons only He knows. Such was the case recently when we were introduced to a saintly elderly woman who walked into our church one Sunday a couple of years ago. She started right in telling me about her farm – and asked me to pray that God would lead her to find good help – because good help was hard to find. She told me about butchering meat, birds, and feeding her cattle. Everytime I sent out a prayer request over email, she responded with a kind and encouraging word. I barely knew this woman, yet I felt like we were life-long friends. She fit right in with our church family. We all loved her. I don’t know where she went to church before Martintown. I don’t know her family or her farm. About the only thing I know about this friend is how much she loved Jesus.
We emailed on a semi-regular basis, but one day she didn’t email back. I didn’t think anything of it until she didn’t show up at the next Bible study. We missed her being there but didn’t worry about it since we knew she had family nearby, plus sometimes she would miss due to extra chores or something similar.
Then my phone rang and it was the funeral director. He told me our friend had died in an accident on her farm. I was stunned … shocked … disbelief was my first reaction. I thought maybe they had the wrong person. It couldn’t be our new friend. But sadly, it was. But the good news is that she loved the Lord. At her funeral, I was able to reassure her family that she was actually in heaven with Jesus because she had committed her life to Him and taken Him as her Lord and Savior. The evidence was in the emails she sent. There’s a time for every season under the sun. A time to laugh and a time to cry. Sometimes those seasons come at the same time.
I love this time of year when everything in the garden is growing and the crops in the field have enough moisture so when the scorching hot days come, everything grows instead of withering and shriveling up. I also love it when people set aside a little time each week to come to church to pray and worship together as a corporate body. Our country needs prayer now more than ever. Christianity is under attack and it’s no secret that many in power want it eradicated from society altogether. Christians need to pray.
We’ve been eating out of the garden but there are other places in the country enjoying bountiful harvests as well. The other day we received a ten pound box of Michigan blueberries as a gift. That same day, a friend gave us 10 pounds of sweet, juicy, California red grapes. In early August, we are expecting a box of Georgia peaches for eating and canning. Some people don’t like beets, but my wife and I do, and lately, she’s been canning beets. We eat green beans from the garden with supper almost every night, and now it’s sweet corn season. We picked our first cucumber the other day and our sunflowers are about 12 feet high already.
Here’s a fun little story: every spring, my wife likes to plant giant sunflowers in our garden. I like them for several reasons: 1) They grow really fast and tower above everything else in the garden. 2) They are easy to harvest. (You don’t have to reach down around the tangled up vines searching for ripe, muddy fruit while avoiding those giant garden spiders that look like bumble bees). 3) They look like happy sun faces when they ripen – thus the name.
The last time it rained, the wind also blew a little and one of our sunflowers was completely bent over and looked kind of like this ᒋ. I thought about pounding a stake into the ground and tying the stalk to it so it wouldn’t break and would grow straight, but I had other things to do right then so it didn’t get done. A few hours later as I was walking by I noticed the sunflower had bent itself back up as if it was reaching for the sun. It was now looking somewhat like a roller coaster with its back bent over and its head lifted up toward the sky. It made me think of the verse in the Psalms that says: “I lift my eyes unto the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth,” (Ps. 121:1).
Enjoy this season of life. God is good.
(Kevin Cernek is Lead Pastor of Martintown Community Church in Martintown, Wisconsin)