Lessons Learned—2020 and Beyond . . .
As we draw near to the end of 2020, looking back, I see a year that stands out as different from all the rest in greater ways than any year I have personally experienced.
This year has had more pervasive “issues” than any year in my memory.
We have all been challenged, collectively, more than any other year. Perhaps many of us have had greater personal battles to face in a given year, but collectively, 2020 has been like no other.
Personally, I would like to see 2021 go back to being more of a “normal” year like all the others. However, who knows?
I hope that this year was an anomaly, and we will have several, or many more, normal years to come. Nevertheless, perhaps not. We have certainly been in the “beginning of sorrows” spoken of in Matthew 24 for some time now. Will things continue to escalate toward the return of Jesus Christ in ways we have never seen before?
Regardless, we can look back and ask ourselves, “What have I learned this year?” What has God wanted me to learn, more than anything else, this year?
For me, it is that we all need to learn to have greater respect for everyone else’s viewpoint, understanding and approach.
Those who walk in pride tend to think they have the very best approach and understanding. Scripture tells us to be careful, to not lean to our own understanding, and that pride comes before a fall. Surely, we must cling to that which is good and learn to reject all sorts of wrongdoing, falsehood and evil. Moreover, we also must look to God for His discernment regarding good and evil.
As humans, we truly do “see through a glass darkly” and must yield to God and Jesus Christ for better spiritual vision and discernment.
Like you, I have heard many conflicting viewpoints, understandings, and approaches regarding the worldwide pandemic and how best to deal with it. I don’t profess to have the answers. I must simply look to God for His guidance, understanding and direction while, in balance, I strive to do my due diligence as I look into these matters in greater detail.
Nevertheless, none of us can possibly know and understand the complete truth about all of these matters. That is why we ought to respect another’s decision as long as it doesn’t conflict with or contradict biblical teaching.
Let us all expect the best in others concerning their sincerity and desire to please God and Jesus Christ. We are members of the Body of Christ and we ought to respect others as such, first and foremost. Let us be careful to think before we speak, before we write, before we post and let us know that God does hold us all accountable for how we represent Him and how we treat others.
In the eNews that went out over email today, you'll read about a fallen warrior, Earl Roemer, who fought the good fight and now awaits his resurrection to eternal life. I remember Earl telling me recently on a trip to Alaska this summer, that he had heard and believed the overall teaching of God’s Church regarding the end times for the past 50 years and now in 2020, especially, he is seeing greater evidence of biblical prophecies coming to pass.
Earl was the first pastor I worked under as a newly hired employee back in 1989 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I learned a lot from Earl, but what stands out most to me was his care for the widows, the poor, the needy and the sick.
Just after we moved into our rented home, Earl came over to help. I vividly remember him on the floor under our children’s bunk bed, helping me put it together. It was a hot day in Oklahoma in late June or early July; I admired his willingness to be of assistance to a young trainee and his family.
Earl inspired me to be a better servant that day through his example. Another act of service that I recall is when our entire family was sick with the flu. Earl’s wife, Carol, was out of town and Earl made a pot of delicious vegetable soup and brought it to our home to help nurse us back to health. That act of kindness and selfless service also inspired me to be a better servant.
Carol was also a fine servant and example to Barbara and me. She was a great help to Earl and a terrific example as a minister’s wife and member of the Body of Christ. I believe both Earl and Carol helped Barbara and me get off to a good start in the ministry. We are truly grateful to have known them both and long to see them in God’s Kingdom at the glorious return of Jesus Christ!
We also love their children, Debbie, Thad and Nell, who are now grown adults with children of their own. Let us remember them in our prayers for God’s comfort and strength to be upon them.
May you all have a very fine, restful, and blessed Sabbath day with, hopefully, a little more time with your family the next few days!