I recently had a remarkable conversation that included listening to a terrific sermon from Pastor Charles Reeb of the Tuskawilla United Method Church in Florida. The sermon, “You Only Have to Die,” was given by Pastor Reeb on Sept. 9, 2007. You can read it as a Word document or listen to it as a Windows media file (you can access other sermons of his on their sermons online page). It’s a moving and thought-provoking sermon.
I know a few things about this pastor from a trustworthy source and really admire who he is and what he is doing.
Here’s an excerpt:
I recall doing a hospital call while I was in seminary that reminded me of the spiritual death that is required of all disciples. I had just started seminary and was visiting patients with a supervisor who was rather unorthodox. He had a way of getting to the truth of things without being abrasive, which is good if you are making your living as a chaplain! We were visiting a patient who was recovering from a drug overdose. The patient was a prominent man in the community. He said to my supervisor, “I have lost everything! My job, my reputation, my livelihood . . . I have lost it all. This is the end for me.” My supervisor responded, “Oh, that’s interesting. Because I see this as just the beginning.” The patient responded, “What do you mean, the beginning?!” My supervisor said, “Well, you said you have lost everything? Everything?” The patient said, “Yes, everything that really mattered to me.” My supervisor said, “Well, that means God has you all to himself. Just think what he can do with you now.”
Nice way to frame the opportunity the Lord may have before us when we have a major setback. There is always someplace the Lord can take us, no matter where we are, if we’ll just let Him guide. And sometimes loss and pain is a way for Him to get us to check into His clinic – or rather, into His travel agency to begin the most important journey of our lives.