Monday, March 23, 2009

The Gift of Rest

About a month ago, a friend of ours lent my wife and I the use of her beach cottage. It was the second time we’d had the pleasure of visiting it, with the other time being about three years ago, and both times we’ve come away relaxed and refreshed. Upon closer reflection, I think it is safe to say that what our friend gave us was the gift of rest.

The nondescript cottage is a simple bungalow located just steps from the beach behind some windswept sand dunes so the surf beckoned for us to come and stroll along its shore. Yet aside from long walks on the beach, we passed our time peacefully ensconced within its shabby chic interior with candlelight, soothing music and good books.

As I reflect upon the time spent at our friend’s beach cottage, I am reminded of Jesus’ admonition to “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while.” It could be said that if we don’t “come apart” in order to rest that we will simply “come apart.” In other words, if we aren’t willing to periodically rest from our busyness and activity, then we may prematurely enter that place of perpetual rest, the cemetery.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Words of Encouragement

I was rummaging through an old shoe box the other day that I had labeled “stuff” and came across a stash of cards, letters and notes of encouragement that I’ve collected over the years. I was feeling somewhat melancholy at the time and so it felt good to be reminded of others’ appreciation of me.

What got me to thinking about going through the box was a phone call I received from a former client of mine who wanted to thank me for my kind words to him a couple of years ago at a critical juncture in his life. He shared with me how much my words of encouragement helped him to transition from his architectural practice into full-time pastoral ministry and he wanted me to know of his gratitude.

Needless to say, I was thrilled to hear from him and humbled that the words I spoke to him struck a resounding chord within the sanctuary of his soul. His call was a timely reminder to me of just how much our lives can influence the journey of another through the power of encouraging words.