Tuesday, December 23, 2008
It was at this desk, where a man built a career. He rose from salesman, to territory manager, to manage a district. He'd leave his family late Sunday night or early Monday each week and drive all over the Southeast, returning on Friday. Later on, he'd fly to distant places and meet a salesman that he'd hope to help become better. But every Friday, he'd be home.
Saturday night he'd study his Sunday School lesson at this desk, preparing to teach the class he led for decades. I can remember the men in his class and the respect they had for him as a teacher. But it wasn't just his teaching they were looking at - it was the way he lived his life. There are lots of ways to teach.
He retired from his career, and came home. Enjoyed his wife, his kids and his grandchildren - had a garden, and a shop downstairs. Still every Saturday night would find him sitting at the desk, preparing a lesson. Broadman Commentary, Standard Sunday School Lessons, Open Bible, Amplified - tools of the teacher. In retirement, he did more around the church and around the house. He had the time.
A stroke came, and he was no longer able to teach the class he loved. Some of the other things he enjoyed were affected too. Still, he adjusted. He did what the doctors told him. Lost weight, took his medicine. Though he was not teaching anymore, he still studied his lesson on Saturday night.
Now his wife of over 60 years has fallen ill, and her recuperation comes along slowly. She's being cared for in a nursing home for now. He can tell you how many days it has been since she's been home. Her picture is placed near the desk so he can see his sweetheart every time he sits there.
And the same man who left home to take care of her and his children years ago - still does. Every day he drives himself over to where she is. He can't stay there all day, but after he goes home at lunch to take his medicine, he comes back and stays until darkness approaches.
Then he kisses her and returns to his home alone.
I looked at this desk and realized this weekend, that the lessons he taught all those years at Bethesda Baptist church about what the Bible said...
... he is still teaching.
For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her...
Eph 5:25 (NLT)
Friends it's one thing to follow when the road is easy and the pathway is bright. The mark of a true disciple is that they are just as faithful in the hard times. I've seen many a man in situations like this one turn inward and pull back from what needs to be done.
Not Curtis Clinard. He's got a man's faith. The Marine Corps motto is "Semper Fidelis" - always faithful. Well friends, the decisions you make today determine whether that is true of you or not. Curtis made many decisions - first to trust Jesus with His life. Then he pledged to love and honor his wife "in sickness or in health." He has. He is.
That's why I added that desk to a list of my sacred places. God used Curtis to prepare other men for trials for many years. Now the demonstration of how to bear them is being shown to all who watch. He's still teaching us.
Merry Christmas to all of you,
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