It is hard to believe that one year ago today I stood behind the great pulpit that God has allowed me to preach from and admit that I had hit the proverbial wall. Starting that day I took the next seven weeks or so to mainly rest, reflect and, with God’s help, renew and restore my inner man and ministry.
I am thankful to this day for my dearly loved wife, family and church family who all stood with me during that time.
I am a different man today. A humbler man, a more grateful man and hopefully a better man.
In looking back over the last twelve months there are a few things that I took from my time away that have forever changed my life for the better.
First, I approach life first and foremost as my Father’s child now. The moment I find myself trying to take back the reins of control and being in charge I stop and remind myself that I must not do that! God’s in charge not me. Do I work hard? Sure I do. Do I take responsibility for things? Sure I do. But now I do so with a different mindset. Like I recently heard one wise man say, “Don’t go to work to work! Go to work to give excellence and to be with your friends.” More and more I am able to give each day my best but then – since my Father God’s in charge now – I can lay it down, go home and be at peace.
To be honest, I still struggle with this; but oh am I doing so much better. Being a child is so much more fun than trying to be a grown-up.
Second, I have learned the wonderful joy and gift of the Sabbath. Sonja and I are still learning how to practice a Sabbath life in a decidedly non-Sabbath world; but we’re getting better at it and that one thing along has forever changed my life and marriage for the better.
I plan to devote the rest of my life to trying to get God’s dear children to accept His wonderful gift of Sabbath. That one gift saved my life and ministry.
Third, I have changed my definition of success. I think now in terms of what success will look for me when I am 70 or 80 (should Jesus tarry and let me live). Most of the things I spent my life pursuing and most of the things that I thought were so important will not matter at all when I’m in my seventies. I try to live my life now with those years in view.
Bottom line, one year later, my life is simpler, slower, and more peaceful. I am truly a blessed man to have such a loving Father God, family and church family. I sometimes hear people refer to themselves as a ”cancer survivor” or a “heart-attack survivor.” I feel like I’m a “rat-race survivor.” I’m so glad my Father God stopped me before I became a rat!
In a little while, I’m going to shut down this computer, turn the lights out, and walk out of my office and go home to my dearly loved wife and family (I’ve got a new grandson to hold!). I can do that now with peace because I am not longer in charge; I’m just a child in my Father God’s great big family who He let’s have a small part in the family business. What a blessing; I just regret that it took me almost 35 years to learn it.
A blessed man and “rat-race survivor”,
david l. kemp