Matthew 6:25-26 – Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (NIV)
Why I have been led to submit this piece is a mystery to me. There are folks that have suffered, and are suffering, in much greater circumstances than mine.
Nearing the age of sixty, I was downsized and reorganized (politically correct for being fired). I was not depressed, but very disappointed. I worked every day for six months searching for employment in my profession. During that time, I had only two interviews and both went bust. I became anxious and discouraged. Then one day, I was led to prayer and I was told to enjoy these moments of early retirement. Trust in the Lord always, was my mantra. True, I had to wait two years for social security and pension benefits to kick in, but we had saved prudently throughout the years and, after assessing our financial situation, we determined we could get by.
The Lord is laughing in the heavens. For even though we had given up on sandy beaches, travel, relaxing, enjoying, etc., the Lord had, years before, already taken care of our needs.
I was an officer in the navy and served our country for seven years on active duty. I continued serving an additional thirteen years in the naval reserves even though many times I was tempted to quit. There was always that little nagging thought in the back of my head to keep going. (My guardian angel speaking?) At age sixty, my navy retirement pension kicked in. It wasn't much, but it kept the roof on the house.
About eight years ago, prior to my early retirement, I met and befriended Roger. Roger is a financial planner, but I didn't meet him in that context. Roger and I served together ministering to four rural churches in the backwaters of Tennessee when a minister was nowhere to be found. We might have been academically unqualified, but we kept the flame of hope burning in those poor little churches. One day Roger asked if we could review my finances. Through him, we set up a mutual fund comprised of various bits of savings scattered here and there. That consolidation has propelled my wife and I into tax categories I never dreamed possible. I thank the Lord (and Roger) daily for this "daily bread."
Being fed financially has allowed me to continue thanking and working for Him. Since retirement I have worked in the county Juvenile Detention Center as their teacher, worked on two Christian movements called Cursillo and Kairos, and lately, have been serving as one of six lay readers doing Morning Prayer in my church, which has just recently lost its priest. I am at peace.
Prayer: (from The Episcopal Book of Common Prayer) "Watch over thy child, O Lord, as his days increase; bless and guide him wherever he may be. Strengthen him when he stands; comfort him when discouraged or sorrowful; raise him up if he fall; and in his heart may thy peace which passes all understanding abide in him all the days of his life; through Jesus Christ our Lord." Amen.