Joy often says that time flies whether you’re having fun or not. She is right. Life is not static and is in a constant state of flux and change. Some dramatic and some not so dramatic but always changing none-the-less. As most of you are aware Joy and I are long haul truckers to support ourselves and any financial shortfall in the ministry. As part of that our company requires that we recertify on something called the Smith System. It is a set of 5 rules which a drivers uses to stay aware of their surroundings on a constant basis because things are continually changing. We often live our life on the road at 65 MPH. We are interested in where we are in the present but that changes very quickly. We are looking into the future which is anywhere from ½ mile to several miles depending on the road. Mostly because the future will very quickly become the present for us and seeing hazards before they arrive is the easiest way to safely avoid them. If there is an accident or even just a State trooper with someone pulled over on the shoulder we have time to move to the passing lane and not put anyone in jeopardy as we pass by.
We also have to check our rear view mirrors every 6-8 seconds on average. Everything in there is technically in our past but sometimes there are things which come roaring up from behind into our present and into our future. Perhaps a State trooper or ambulance will be speeding along from behind us into the road ahead due to an accident. As we see them approaching we can make way for them to pass. Sometimes danger is coming from behind. Last week as I looked ahead there was a State Trooper with a tractor trailer pulled over on the shoulder. I checked the mirrors and there was a pick-up truck perhaps ½ mile behind me in the passing lane. I put on my signal, checked again and had plenty of time to move to the passing lane and leave a safe distance for the officer on the shoulder. As I completed the lane change I checked the mirrors again only to see the pick- up had accelerated and was closing the distance and then did an amazingly dangerous thing, he moved to the left shoulder to pass me. As I passed the trooper and moved back to the “granny lane” the pick-up went from the shoulder across the passing lane to the “granny lane” in one move. As soon as he was in front of me he slammed on his brakes. Not wise.
As MCOI begins the New Year we are looking forward as we plan for the year. We also are considering where we are in the present and reflecting on the past. The many phone calls and emails we have received looking for help or asking questions help to remind us of our particular calling and mission field. Last week I had a call from a woman that had been a Jehovah’s Witness since she was 5 but left a couple of years ago. She called because her sister had been raped by the son of an Elder when they were younger. The sister and mother continue to attend the same Kingdom Hall with the perpetrator and his father but say nothing for fear of being disfellowshipped. We were able to help the woman who called tremendously. She called because of one of Snarky’s videos on JWs and pedophilia.
We could share quite a few stories from this past year but I want to look in the rear view mirror of my life a bit further back. This is a reminder that sometimes things that seem to be in the past come roaring up in to the present.
A little over 30 years ago my son Lee became friends with a young lad named Mike. Mike had a brother that is about 2 years older named James. As they grew into their teen years the subject of God came up quite often. James argued against God all of the time and had great questions. Many is the evening we sat on our porch swing and he would give out his best objections. One day he came to the faith but more than that, Mike came to the faith and went on to be a pastor. I haven’t seen either of them in many years but this past Sunday as Joy and I were getting ready to leave for church my son, Lee, mentioned that James and his wife were going to meet us there. What a surprise! It turns out they recently moved into our area, contacted Lee to find out where we attended church because they wanted to be sure to find a good church. Joy and I were thrilled.
What we do in our personal lives, in our work lives, in our ministry, impacts not only the present but the “present” quickly becomes the “past.” That means that what we have done in the past also impacts the future. In this case, taking the time to answer the questions of teenager many long years ago has brought them to the faith which we all share today and in turn they will pass on to their children and others in the future. It isn’t exactly the Smith System but perhaps the Jesus System. What was is Paul said? Oh yes:
what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2)
I cannot think of a better way to begin a New Year!