This week is my first week of working part-time. I have worked full-time for 50 years and at the same job for the last 15 years full-time. Although of my own making and choice to begin to transition into retirement, this part-time work situation has caught me off-guard. I could not wait a couple of weeks ago to begin this journey. And now I’m wondering and feeling and praying. And that in itself may be my biggest issue; I wondered and felt first and then prayed after when I should have prayed first. Maybe I did, at times, but not always. When the feelings of rejection and being set aside have come in like a wave, I’ve allowed them to come. I’ve even sat in them for awhile hoping others felt sorry for me or missed me or… I don’t know, something! But life has a tendency to go on with or without us I’m finding. And actually that is as it should be. We’ve all lost someone to something. And wouldn’t it be even a sorrier state of life than it already is if everyone walked around sad, crying and lonely, commiserating about their loss? The answer here is YES.
So today, 4 days in to this part-time work situation, I need to express my thoughts. I love how God steps into our existence at the most opportune time and give us exactly what we need to see, hear or read. And that is what happened this morning. I’m reading a devotional called On The Eighth Day Praying through the Liturgical Year by Breedlove, Kane, Perry and West. To start off my wondering today, the YouVersion devotion I am in with a friend asked the reflection question: Are there sins in your life that keep you from appreciating the good news that Jesus brings? Hmmmm? Yes. I’m sure there are. One is that I am allowing this “feeling” of rejection and being set aside affect me in a way I did not expect. THEN I read this from On The Eighth Day:
“Grant me, even me, my dearest Lord, to know you, and love you, and rejoice in you. And, if I cannot do these perfectly in this life, let me at least advance to higher degrees every day, until I can come to do them in perfection. Let the knowledge of you increase in me here, that it may be full hereafter. Let the love of you grow every day more and more here, that it may be perfect hereafter; that my joy may be full in you. I know, O God, that you are a God of truth, O make good your gracious promises to me, that my joy may be full; to your honor and glory, with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, one God, now and forever. Amen.” (Saint Augustine) This brought me to tears of confession and got my attention and I prayed that prayer wholeheartedly.
As if that was not enough for me to realize that the God of the universe was stepping into my situation I read on to the reading for today (I was a day behind). Reflecting on John 3:25-26 that says; 25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” After this is where John responds with the known verses 30 He must become greater; I must become less.”
So, the prayer for this day’s devotion in the aforementioned devotional book is thus: “Lord Jesus Christ, I am no longer my own, but thine. Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed by thee, exalted for thee, or brought low for thee. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and heartly yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thou are mine and I am thine. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen. (John Wesley)
That brought me to full acceptance of this part-time situation. Please do not write to me to commiserate with or about or even give your understanding. I would rather that you glorify God for stepping into it with me. Then, use the prayers for yourself, if need be, to grow closer to the one who gave you life; who planted you in the city, state and country where you reside; to give you the work or no work, family, love, or lack of them. Let Him be your everything and may you be employed by Him and Him alone.