Hazel and I have been involved in the Lord’s work “full time” as they say, for forty years now.You see and learn a lot in that period of time and make profound discoveries of God and His grace.Along with this rich store of the knowledge of God is the increasing realization of your own dreadful fallibility, sinfulness and weakness.Thus is the heart humbled and rightly so.We could not long endure self discovery unless it were in the context of the Lord making Himself known.
We have had years of residence in the UK, then Australia and Canada and now back again to the UK.So many travels too, the Lord has carried us to far off places and those that are near and all to serve the Lord in His beloved churches.Yes, He loves His churches and puts that same love in our hearts also.
Many enquire of us “ what is your ministry”, seeking for means of defining and fitting us into some convenient category often with a Biblical basis.“Are you an apostle, a teacher, give us some account of yourself?”However, it is not easy to give some neat definition.There are several words which express something of our desire at least, to ‘serve’ would be one, to ‘befriend’ would be another.Add to this the thought of ‘feeding God’s flock with His choice food wherever He sends us”, and we are getting close to an approximate description ofwho we are and what we are about.
Of course, it is what we are to God that really matters.What does He call us?Are we His sons and does He find pleasure in us and is He more pleased than He was a decade ago?He called Abraham His ‘friend’.Is God’s friendship over our tent?Reflection on these things bringsa measure of encouragement and assurance mingled with a godly fear.
There is a poem by the pastor- poet George Herbert that captures something of my heart in particular and has been with me for years.I’ll give you the whole poem, you will catch its sentiment but perhaps you too can ponder these words as I have.
How fresh, O Lord, how sweet and clean
Are Thy returns! E’en as flowers in spring;
To which, beside their own demean
The late-past frost tributes of pleasures bring.
Grief melts away, like snow in May,
As if there were no such cold thing.
Who would have thought my shrivel’d heart
Could have recovered greennesse? It was gone
Quite underground: as flowers depart
To see their mother-root, when they have blown;
Where they together
All the hard weather
Dead to the world, keep house unknown.
These are Thy wonders, Lord of power,
Killing and quickening, bring down to hell
And up to heaven in an houre;
Making the chiming of a passing- bell.
We say amisse
This or that is:
Thy word is all, if we could spell.
O that I once past changing were,
Fast in Thy paradise, where no flower can wither!
Many a spring I shoot up fair,
Off’ring at heav’n, growing and growing thither:
Nor doth my flower
Want a spring-showre
My sinnes and I joining together.
But while I grow in a straight line,
Still upwards bent, as if heav’n were mine own
Thy anger comes, and I decline:
What frost to that? What pole is not the zone,
Where all things burn
Then Thou dost turn,
And the least frown of Thine is shown?
And now in age I bud again,
After so many deaths I live and write;
I once more smell the dew and rain,
And relish versing: O my onely light,
It cannot be
That I am he
On whom Thy tempests fell at night.
These are Thy wonders, Lord of love,
To make us see we are but flowers that glide;
Which when we once can find and prove,
Thou hast a garden for us, where to hide.
Who would be more
Swelling through store
Forfeit their Paradise by their pride.
Recently we have made our home base in the UK, nearby to Reading in Berkshire.The Lord has been bountiful towards us and great are His blessings. We are with a church called Whiteknights International Church.There are friends there and in many other parts of the world among whom we go as the Lord leads us.We press on trusting that the latter glory shall exceed that which we have formerly known and that all the while there shall be the Lord’s increase both in us and through us.A final thought, taken from the fly leaf of my Bible.“Lord, fill me with Thy grace daily, that I may be a fountain of sweet water’.