Last Sunday I didn’t go to church. Why not? I have not missed a Sunday at church in I do not know how many years (I am a pastor so that makes some difference, right?).
Well, my Father Eddie Stoddard died last week from cancer. He fought it hard, but no one beats pancreatic cancer. Often, when in the end stage, pancreatic cancer allows about 4-6 months for a person to live. The journey in the last six months has been hard. Last week we honored God by having a Celebration of Life Eddie Stoddard (see pic of him and Marilyn to the right). My Dad lived in Electa, Texas, with his wife Marilyn Stoddard. They were so involved in the town of Electra that the town of Electra has a fund raiser BBQ dinner for help with medical expenses. The fundraiser was great. The town of Electra was gracious. Almost 300 plus people showed up. There were 5 bands, goat roping, tears and fun. Well, it started from 12 noon. So, the question, “why didn’t I go to church Sunday?” is simple. I could not get there on time. My Aunt lives 45 minutes from Electra. There was no time to go to church and get to the benefit on time.
What did I do?
I was lodging at my Aunt’s house. I love that house. It’s like going to the Aunt Bee’s kitchen. See the food she made? Oh my it was good. Here is the table. Now this table represents a lot. It was at this wonderful table that I went to church. I worshiped the Lord. I left blessed. What did I learn?
1. Family is important.
During one of the toughest times in our family, death, it is then that you realize family is important. My Aunt and I sat at her table and reminisced. We laughed about the good times. We cried about the tough times. I got a history lesson on my family history. My Aunt reminded me in her simple way that family is important. Even
when our family has not seen each other in awhile, we still act like we saw each other last week. It many ways, family is important. Make that phone call. Send that text. Write that note. Make that simple touch in the lives of your family.
2. Discussion is encouraging.
I’m a discussion maker. I ask questions. I’m hungry for encouragement and I like giving it. When we get around tables, discussion happens. I have noticed for the most part it is good. If you talk long enough, good things just pop out. We leave encouraged. Why? We got face to face and discussed life. Discussion is communication. And communicating is important. I leave wishing I had talked more beforehand and desiring to stay in touch more in the future.
3. God allows us to create special spiritual places that we can back to from time to time.
The spiritual angle here is that my Aunt (pictured left with my Father) is a believer is Jesus Christ. She allowed me to talk spiritual life. Actually, we threw our hearts out to the table. We talked about the importance of God and the hope of the
gospel. It reminded me of times when God allows us to build special altars, at unique times, good and bad, to sense His presence. God did not just show up at the church gathered. The church showed up scattered as my Aunt and I “were” the church gathered at her dinning room table.
I’m miss my Dad. His death has rocked me. Personal grief is grueling. This has been the most emotional 10 days I’ve had in many years. I’m thankful that I have family to connect to still. I plan to make the efforts to stay in touch. Personal touches are not hard to make if we want to be intentional in doing good.
What are the special table in your life? Tell me about it.