Seeing Red

Greetings folks.

First, thank you for all of the kind words and encouragement following my previous post. I realized that I forgot to add anything about my trip to Nashville to see the oncologist yesterday. The good news is that I had a nice visit with her, and she reiterated that the best course of action, in her opinion, is to stay on the current study and receive the treatment that I’ve been receiving for well over a year now. The basic logic, as crazy as this sounds coming off surgery to remove a tumor, is that I have no visible disease as far as CT imaging is concerned! We all know that I have a tumor inside my colon still (the original recurrence from 2014), but it is only visible by colonoscopy. We also know I have metastatic disease, but none of it is visible with CT imaging. Without CT-visible disease, I cannot change to another experimental trial option (the studies require trackable disease). So, we stay the course. In her words (paraphrasing), “we are in a strange, confusing situation, but of all the possible conditions, this is the best possible one” (no obvious life-threatening disease). Wow. Discouraging/encouraging at the same time. This is why I need faith.

Brief story, as we watch the stock market plummet this week and our investments weaken. Disclosure: no longer health-related from here…

Our church is in a transition period right now, and we have an interim Senior Pastor, who also happens to be my dear friend. One of our elders sent an email to him (CC’ing me and the other elders) asking him if he had a set day off. Reading the email was one of those look-away-from-your-media-device-and-process moments. Most people get a couple of days off a week, like Saturday and Sunday. But pastors obviously have strange hours. Our interim Senior Pastor replied that he did not, in fact, have a set day off but that this was something he needed to think about.

I can’t imagine a job where I don’t have any time off. This wouldn’t be good for me, my marriage, or my family. I recognize that in this case, I need to help him figure out a way to get some personal time, even a day off occasionally.

Yesterday evening, some friends needed help unpacking a trailer of homeware, and a few of our church members came to their aid, which is good. But a group text buzzed my phone as I drove home from Nashville last night. It was our interim Senior Pastor, my friend, telling the group he’d be a little late to the scene. I thought to myself, “Really???  Does he have to help people move, too?”  Maybe he did this to help a friend. Maybe he did it because he feels called to serve, especially as a pastor. Maybe both. But what a cost in terms of time and energy to help so many people.

This morning I dropped my son, Owen, off at Jittery Joe’s in Watkinsville at 7am for a weekly bible study. One of the other fathers pulled up beside me as we awaited the youth leader (speaking of cost of time and energy, by the way), and he asked me how I’m doing. He told me that he and his wife were “trying to invest in people.” This was certainly encouraging, but then I thought about what it means to invest in people. I considered that most of my thoughts and energies go to people, much like my financial resources, that I consider good investments, and this was a bit convicting. All people are worth of our time and energy, but, as Christians, we’re called to invest in people most would consider bad investments and, discomfortingly, those who might be most costly to ourselves.

And then I think about our interim Senior Pastor. My friend. In terms of personal investments, he’s in the red. I pray for him, his wife, his marriage, his boys, their family. May God continue to provide the resources that he needs to continue to invest in people who are in constant need, like me.

And then I think about Jesus (you saw that coming, right?). He paid the ultimate cost, dying on the cross. His blood was poured out to pay the price for the souls of His people, bad investments all. He is thus forever in the red, but his return will be the start of a new kingdom, with all those souls worshipping Him to the glory of the Father, just as He desired from the beginning, freely.

Blessings all.

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