Monday, August 30, 2010

not wasting their lives

you're probably familiar with john piper's view of the custom of retirement in the western world. if not, you can read about it here. basically, piper thinks that we should continue to actively minister and work for Christ all the days of our lives. he thinks that retirement should not mean throwing in the towel, traveling the world for selfish reasons, and/or patting oneself on the back, saying, "you deserve this" and in essence wasting the rest of your life.
i know some men that would be excellent "case-in-point"s for dr piper. these men (all 65+) literally built our church building.
(it sounds redundant, but the church is not a building: we meet in one.)

at 8AM sharp this morning, Capt'n, Billy, and Dan the Man showed up on our front step ready to work. more accurately, at 8AM, they showed up in the front yard and began taking the frames off the windows of our living room. a ruckus immediately began throughout the house. we had assumed they would start with the dining room and had not prepared the living room. my parents and i started removing mini blinds, paintings, wall hangings, lamps, furniture, books, shoes and toys from the living room while judah began shouting from her high chair.

you would have thought it was the beatles at shea stadium.

she went wild. shouting their names and trying to get herself out of her bib and high chair simultaneously. "capt'n and billy here!!!!"
(she's a big fan.)

they were attacking the front of the house with such fury (hammers and pry bars and such), the sound was deafening. i was attempting to help my parents move things from the room, keep judah out from underfoot, and answer the business line for discover yosemite all at the same time.
sheets were brought in, draped over couches, tarps were laid, drywall was chipped off, and someone started the shop vac. (at this point i'm trying to remember why i thought it would be a good idea to dust last saturday.) within a matter of hours, these men installed four new windows in our living room and another in our dining room. two months ago, they completely re-windowed two of our bedrooms.
tomorrow, it's sliding doors.

next week? they're re-roofing someone's house.

this is not a business for these men.
it's a ministry.

they have helped countless people in our church and our community with endless projects. not for personal gain, but simply to serve.

Capt'n, aptly named for his leadership, runs the crew. Billy, an ex-marine with the softest heart and sweetest voice, is his right-hand man; always ready with a hearty laugh at all of Capt'n's teasing and jokes. Dan the Man is an instrument of precision; a wood-worker of the highest craftsmanship. their ministry is to do projects that people cannot do on their own. serious projects. like window installation and roofing. my dad, Gunner (for his avid use of the nail gun), follows all Capt'n's instructions beautifully.

i smiled from the kitchen after serving coffee and coffee cake to hear them pray and then discuss the next job, people in need, organizations in the community that might need a hand, and how to effectively fundraise.



i believe this is exactly what dr piper was thinking when he started writing down his thoughts about not wasting our lives. these men have a skill, a talent, that the Lord gave to them. instead of spending their retirement years collecting seashells, Capt'n and his gang are using these God-given gifts to bless the church and the community.
i think we can all learn from their example.

1 comment:

Christine said...

Well written and well documented! Truly an inspiring bunch. They look like such a fun group, I wish I was there to see them in action. Especially as I have a soft spot for Gunner, and as of that fateful Wednesday, so does a little miss james.