Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Keeping Things Fresh and Green

Psalm 92:14

They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,

Life ChangeOk – the season is upon us – my wife has begun to decorate for Christmas. Have you started at your home yet? Do you have a tradition? Do you decorate the day after Thanksgiving – or do you shop that day and decorate on another day? Do you do it slowing – or all at once? Is it a family event or does one person pretty much take the lead?

At our home – my wife is the decorator (there are stories I could tell you about what happens when I help – but that is for another post). I usually put up the tree – with help – but she pretty much does the decorating. I help bring down the boxes – but she puts things up. She starts slowly and works up to being finished a few weeks before Christmas – at times as early as the 1st of December.

What traditions are important to you around Christmas decorating – if any? I know people who have fully decorated trees they simply put away decorated and bring them out for Christmas. I know people who leave their tree up year-round. I knew a couple – my dear friends Tom & Doris – who used to put a tree up in every room. Personally – I like the decorations – but I think I could do without them. Don’t get me wrong – I love Christmas. My dad loved Christmas and I have good memories of Christmas as a child. But Christmas for me has always been family – music – worship and seeing family and friends. The decorations are nice – but not essential for me.

Next question. Do you use live decorations? I mean – do you use a live tree – live greenery – in your decorations? If you do – and fewer people do these days – you always deal with the drying out issue. When we say a live tree or greenery – we often mean – real – because they aren’t alive after we cut them down (although some do use live trees and plant them in the yard after Christmas). Using water – plant food – and other such things to help keep the tree and greens looking fresh is an ongoing task. Ask me sometime about the tree that was so dry it lost all its needles or the one that caught the back hill on fire). Keeping greenery looking fresh is not easy. Some replace them along the way.

Today’s passage speaks about keeping us fresh and producing for our Lord – even as we age. Here is today’s passage in partial context. Psalm 92:12–15 – 12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, 15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

In 2020 – I will turn 65. Retirement is a subject that I am considering more and more. Yet – I want to finish my active full-time ministry strong. I do not want to hang on – as I’ve seen other older pastors do. I want to be fresh – always learning – always excited about preaching – teaching – visiting – counseling – leading – and guiding others. Even when I officially retire – I want to continue serving our Lord. My calling from God didn’t come with an expiration date. As a matter of fact – because I felt called by God into ministry – I am waiting for God to call me into the next phase of my ministry – beyond full-time pastoral ministry.

The key is staying fresh – staying Holy Spirit filled – staying excited about each day the Lord gives us to serve Him.

I think the key is in the final verses of today’s partial context passage – Psalm 92:14-15 – 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, 15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.” When Christ is our Rock – our reason for being – the Holy Spirit will refresh us daily. If we get the place where we are simply going through the motions – we will not remain fresh. Each day – we need to begin with prayer and seeking after Christ and His will for our day and life.

As we decorate for Christmas – remember that Jesus is the reason for the season. Remember that as we seek to keep our decorations fresh and looking good through the entire season – we need to stay fresh and Spirit filled as followers of Christ – for our entire season (life).

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

P.S. – The last question – when do you take your decorations down? That may be for another post forthcoming!

November 21, 2019 - Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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