Monday, 3 July 2017

The Preacher and the Farmer.

Now before I go one bit further my wife has already criticised this painting because I have only the man holding the girl. I did not agree because she was in fact the one holding the umbrella so how could she also hold him? But everybody has an opinion and who am I to disagree? Maybe I got it wrong. 

I called this one, "Cold days and warm thoughts." Strange to be painting a snow scene when I am sitting out in the sun.  Yesterday I went for walk with my wife in the afternoon. At about the three mile mark we came to a fork in the road, I proceeded to head to the right she wanted to go onwards and to the left. She was convinced that was the way back to our van. I was equally convinced that she was very wrong. I got out google maps and asked it to give me directions to my van having put in what I was told was the address. It told me I had 39.5 miles to go.  The long and the short of it is that after another four miles I was proven to have made the correct decision about the way of travel.

As we walked we passed a little church that reminded me of one of the very last churches I preached in. I  still remember it very well because when I turned up there were only about 12 people in the congregation, the normal Sunday turnout. Being used to preaching to large numbers I looked and remember asking myself if it was worth the bother. I still feel bad about having that thought.

There is a story of a minister having the same thoughts.

An old hill farming crofter trudges several miles through freezing snow to his local and very remote church for Sunday service. 
No-one else is there, aside from the clergyman.
"I'm not sure it's worth proceeding with the service - might we do better to go back to our warm homes and a hot drink?.." asks the clergyman, inviting a mutually helpful reaction from his audience of one.
"Well, I'm just a simple farmer," says the old crofter, "But when I go to feed my herd, and if only one beast turns up, I sure don't leave it hungry."
So the clergyman, feeling somewhat ashamed, delivers his service - all the bells and whistles, hymns and readings, lasting a good couple of hours - finishing proudly with the fresh observation that no matter how small the need, our duty remains. And he thanks the old farmer for the lesson he has learned.
"Was that okay?" asks the clergyman, as the two set off home.
"Well I'm just a simple farmer," says the old crofter, "But when I go to feed my herd, and if only one beast turns up, I sure don't force it to eat what I brought for the whole herd..."
From which we see the extra lesson, that while our duty remains regardless of the level of need, we have the additional responsibility to ensure that we adapt our delivery (of whatever is our stock in trade) according to the requirements of the situation.
Have a wonderful day no matter what the weather and may it be full of warm thoughts.

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