Posted tagged ‘Work’

The Rest in the Story

March 7, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                           March 7, 2016


     Yesterday I was blessed to be a part of a congregation that was welcoming back one of its pastors from a three-month sabbatical. Since I retired two months ago I’ve been on a sabbatical…sort of! I recommend it…before retirement!

The pastor focused his message on “rest.” Scripture talks about “sabbath rest”, a concept that we read about with a suspicious eye. One of the points he made that I typed into my iPhone was the fact that after Adam and Eve were created they started their lives with a day of unearned rest.

His point hit me! we view rest as something that is earned after a hard day of work, or a day at the end of a long work week. Rest, however, is like a breath of the grace of God. It comes to us because he loves us, not because we’ve worked hard for it.

Of course, our culture doesn’t think along those lines. We’re not sure if Sunday is the first day of the week to begin a new journey with rest; or the seventh day of the week to rest up after six days of battles and struggles.Most of us talk about Monday as being the start of a new week; Sunday is the end of the weekend!

One of the factors in my deciding to retire was rest, or lack of! Monday, traditionally, was my day off…my day of rest, noticeably at the end of my “pastor week.” On Tuesday when a new week was staring me in the face I wasn’t ready to go at it again. If I was an iPhone being charged I was only back up to fifty percent battery life. I did not rest well, or enough.

That thinking is hard for blue-collar Americans who go at it each Monday morning hard and long for forty plus hours divided over five or six days. To rest is too often seen as a luxury, as opposed to a necessity…or even a gift from God.

I’m now in the midst of that weird period- that time when I’m not required to do anything, but feel guilty if I don’t do something. “Doing something” is an affliction of our culture’s mentality. We connect value and meaning to it. When we rest the question that gets asked often is “how long are you going to rest before you get on with things?” Rest is seen as something we’ll get to do a lot after we die…R-I-P!

Personally, I recognize that I’m in a time of being redefined. People view me differently. I’m no longer “Pastor Bill”, even though it is a huge part of who I am. I’m enjoying this new journey, and yet I’m still a little uncomfortable with it. The book I’m reading that is laying beside me on the coffee counter here at Starbucks is entitled The 12 Week Year: Get More Done In 12 Weeks than Others Do In 12 Months. The pastor’s group I belong to is reading it. It w3ill be interesting to see if it has the effect of pulling me in to the fray once again!

Sunday Afternoon Naps

June 15, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                          June 14, 2015


I’m convinced every Sunday afternoon that God knew what he was doing when he called for a day of rest. Of course, as a pastor “Sunday rest” is somewhat of a “qualified term.” Some Sundays I see a few people in their sanctuary seats who have gotten a head start on me…nap, that is!

When I get home Sunday afternoon I become a cranky old codger if I’m not allowed to lay my head on the pillow. Usually I take a book, open it to whatever page I’m on, and get anywhere from ten pages to two paragraphs read before I’m snoring like a kid with tonsil problems!

Some Sundays all I need is about 20 minutes. Other Sundays I’m dead to the world for a couple of hours.

Naps are gifts from God! Rest is undervalued by our culture. Some people rest at the wrong times…like at their place of employment, so they can be rested to be active after work. Some people treat rest like it’s poison ivy. Keep it away!

I don’t know if it’s my profession or my age…or both…but I am extremely thankful God created a Sunday afternoon 2 P.M. I was I still subject to parental discipline I might act out around that time so I could be disciplined with a time-out in my room.

We live in a tired world. A healthy life is like a swinging pendulum that goes back and forth between work and rest, or work and play. That’s right, play can be restful. One thing that my grandkids do is say to me “Granddad, tell us a story…using our feet!” They plop their two pairs of feet across my lap and giggle with glee as I make up a story that uses their toes as props. Those moments of storied play bring a chuckle to my spirit when I’m dealing with stress.

Restful play and playful rest. Very few people get to the end of a week and wish they could have worked more, but a lot of tired folk get to the end of a week and wish they could have relaxed more.

I’ve decided that Sunday afternoon naps are so good I usually do a sequel on Monday. Not as long, but re-energizing. I used to feel guilty about that. Not any more! Pardon the pun, but I’ve given the guilt a rest!


July 31, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                   July 31, 2013

      Carol and I don’t often get away…at least far enough away. Not that I don’t enjoy being a pastor, or enjoy the people of my congregation. It’s really not their problem.

It’s me!

I am not good at unplugging. I find it very difficult to turn off the knob (old technology term) that is labeled “Thinking About What Needs To Be Done.”

It’s like the word association game. Hear a word and say the first word that comes to your mind. For me, however, it’s seeing an object and thinking about a meeting coming up, or a message to be preached. I smell popcorn and think about movies, which makes me think about the video series our small group will be using in the next month, which makes me think about the study guide questions I still need to repair.

Fruit reminds me of communion. Dinner rolls at a restaurant remind me of…communion. I drive along a river and it reminds me of the water restrictions we’re under back home, and whether the sprinklers are properly turned off. I pass a school and I think of the staff appreciation luncheon we do each year at Audubon School down the street from us on the teacher work day they have before the students come back.

See! I’m plugged! It is one thing that Carol is concerned about whenever I retire. Can I really unplug?

In our culture where we are almost always connected by technology (Except on Union Boulevard around Lexington about two miles from our house. Why is it I can get phone reception in Antarctica, but not right here in the midst of civilized technology?), everything seems either urgent or known. If it is known that means it is expected to be put on the fast track to solved. If it is urgent it needs to be accomplished…now!

I get into that mindset of accomplishing tasks, doing the weekly jobs again, and then when a day off comes I’m still checking emails and thinking about the week ahead.

Why is it that we find it hard to vacate? Okay, I’ll use that other word…”rest!” It may say something about our reluctance to slow down and listen. We’re not a very good listening culture. We listen to music…as we’re working. We listen to the radio…as we’re driving. We listen to our kids…as we’re working on our laptop. We listen to the problems of others…as we’re texting someone else about our own problems.

Listening is an undervalued asset. Slowing down is seen as not getting us anyplace.

Perhaps I will try to “vacate” each day this coming month…not for the day, but for a few moments, an evening walk, or just in a quiet place by myself.

It won’t be early in the morning. With a day of tasks ahead it would be a recipe for defeat. Early evening works best for who I am.

I’ll let you know how it goes. For today Carol and I are going to vacate to about five different places that we need to get to.

Uh-oh, that didn’t sound restful, did it?

Forgetting Our Purpose, But Remembering Our Cell Phone

April 15, 2012

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                                         April 15, 2012


Many people think I’m clueless…and I am in some respects! Without guidance from my wife my colorblindness can cause the reactions around me to non-verbally communicate “What was he thinking?” And there have been other times when a “thank you” to Carol for the dinner she has just cooked would have been appreciated, but I cluelessly sat there like a “man stone”- word-less!

So I admit my cluelessness. One time I even walked through an airport terminal unzipped before my friend may mention of an open barn door. When your “openness” is suddenly revealed it causes you to think about all the smiles and grins you have just received in the last five minutes.

But…there are other things I’m pretty observant of. In recent times I’ve noticed the attitude and attentiveness of workers in restaurants and business establishments. It might go to the fact that I just read Patrick Lencioni’s book The Three Signs Of A Miserable Job.

Sometimes the customer seems to be an inconvenience. A couple of weeks ago Carol and I took our daughters and grand kids to Dairy Queen. I like Dairy Queen. Years ago my Aunt Irene bought me my first foot-long hot dog there, plus my first banana split. Unfortunately, they were during the same meal and I just about split my tummy trying to eat both items. My Uncle Milliard, who was married to my Aunt Irene, bought a Dairy Queen for a few months, and just as quickly sold it because the fourteen hour days were killing him. He knew it was time to sell when one day he looked out at the long line of customers and yelled “Doesn’t anyone eat at home anymore?” Although in question form, it was not really a question!

Back to my recent DQ stew! The young man who took our order seemed to be more interested in one of the young ladies who was working the drive-thru lane than he was in the guy with the twenty dollar bill in his hand. We ordered, and all of our order came…except one item! Mine! My Peanut Butter Bash…missing in action!

I was patient, waiting to the side as other customers placed their orders…and then received…and then left. As I waited I noticed the young man’s cell phone placed right next to the register, and every twenty seconds or so he would receive a text from someone who was obviously more important then me. And he would respond to it.

My clueless side was not so pronounced that I thought to myself “Wow! People can text their orders to DQ ahead of time now. That’s pretty neat!”

No, I was just waiting for my Peanut Butter Bash, which I will never ever order again!

Finally, I got Employee X’s attention and told him that I hadn’t received part of our order. He asked me what I was waiting on, and I told him “Peanut Butter Bash”, which when you think of it, sounds kind of stupid. In fact, as I told him I almost felt immature, like ordering a kids’s meal when I’m old enough to order off of the Senior Menu.

In about 30 seconds he put the PBB in front of me with no “Sorry about that”, or “My bad!”…just put it right there and checked his cell phone again.

How often it seems that we forget our purpose for being where we are, and for what we’re doing. We just put in the time in a lackluster manner, making no impact and giving minimal attention and effort.

Could it be that the church needs to learn from the DQ guy? That being the hands and feet of Jesus to a person who is in the midst of a listening ear is more important than the text from Howdy Doody saying “Hey?”

Just saying…could it be that we sometimes just put the time in…without thinking how our attentiveness could be a connecting link in someone’s life transformation experience? Perhaps reducing the times of cluelessness might result from a more attentiveness to the whisper of the Spirit.