This weekend Laura and I will drive to Oklahoma. We will attend the funeral for the mother of one of our members. We will take our son-in-law and daughter to lunch for his birthday. We will get to see some old, dear friends. We will have the opportunity to meet some new friends. I will be preaching in a Gospel meeting with a wonderful church. It will be a great week for all of these reasons. Oh, and there is one more reason it will be a great week. We will be eating fondue with one of our favorite couples in the world. The first time I remember ever having fondue was in their home. We ate fondue with them regularly for ten years while we were living in OKC. Our kids grew up eating fondue at their table. In this home, fondue is an institution. The children and grandchildren have eaten fondue countless times in this home. A boat load of preachers have dined on fondue in this home. The meal consists of an obligatory side salad (some part of the meal needs to be healthy), toasted bread pieces (with cheese dip), sweet tea, meat, meat, and more meat (nothing wrong with those who are vegetarians, but this is not the place for you)! Did I mention their will be a lot of meat? Through the years each fondue meal is the same, everyone will gorge themselves and one by one leave the table.
This time there will be four of us. No children or grandchildren, just the four of us. We will sit and talk about our children, grandchildren (including the one that is on the way!), and great-grandchildren. We will talk about health concerns (I know, it’s probably not the best place to talk about health concerns eating a meal like this). We will speak briefly about politics. We will talk extensively about the work of the Lord; the joys of ministry, the stresses of ministry, upcoming speaking engagements, books that need to be written, and the work that needs to be done to strengthen the church. Long after the girls have finished their meal, my friend and I will continue eating. Each time we eat fondue we try to be the last one cooking meat. We are both stubborn enough that we don’t want to let the other one win
This sometime semi-retired preacher who continues to be actively involved in the work of the Lord even though he is nearing his nineties, has taught me as much about the work of the Lord as anyone I know. He and his wife are both genuine treasures. They have given of themselves to the work of the Lord for more than sixty years. They have worked with small churches and large churches. They have touched the lives of thousands of people. He has authored more than fifty Bible class books that have been used by hundreds of thousands of Christians around the world. This dear brother came into my life at a time I desperately needed a mentor and a listening ear. He helped me through a difficult time in my ministry. He has taught me how to be a better husband, a better father, a better friend, and a better preacher. He has taught me how to make my prayer life stronger, how to forgive deeper, and how to show more love to my brothers when there are disagreements. He has taught me the importance of not being proud, boastful, and arrogant (we have way to many preachers and church leaders who are much to full of themselves). He has taught me about how much we need balance in our preaching and our life.
One piece of advice that I would like to share with young Christians (especially young preachers) is that you need some older people in your life. You need some people who have lived life to it’s fullest. People who are not afraid to share their lives with it’s strengths and weaknesses. People who will share their wisdom with you. I know that we need people around us who are our peers, close to our age, but if we deprive ourselves of being around some who are more mature, we lose much that life has to offer. Our fondue time with these precious treasures this week will be rich. It will be a time of refreshment. It will be time of being recharged and renewed. It will be a time of joyful remembrance.
Dear God, thank You for allowing the right people to come into our lives at just the right time. Father, help us not to be so foolish that we attempt to make it through life on our own. Help us to listen to and learn from the rich experiences of others. Thank you, dear God, for good times and good friends. May we never take for granted the opportunities that come our way to learn from others. Thank you for senior Christians who have stood the test of time and who have paved the way. Thank you for the giants on whose shoulders we are standing.