Benton Heisler tells the story of a Saturday, with grandson Weston, filled with many blessings. “The beauty of our day centered on enjoying the relationship we have with each other.”
Director of Connectional Ministry, Michigan Conference
I had the joy this past Saturday of sharing the day with my four-year-old grandson, Weston. Everyone else was in another town attending a baby shower for our youngest daughter Hannah. We are blessed to be able to seem him and his brother frequently, but rarely is it just the two of us for a length of time.
The day was full of possibilities, a fishing pole was in the back of the truck, snacks and drinks were ready to travel, an itinerary of orchard/cider mill/donuts, lumberyard, zoo, playgrounds, and Tractor Supply store were all mapped out. Some ping pong in the basement before breakfast soon gave way to the adventures before us.
The lumber yard in Charlotte was full of sites, sounds, tools, machines and fragrances of wood that he had never encountered. We took it all in, including an excellent tour/sales pitch one of the workers provided as he explained the function of the massive production machines. Snacks in the parking lot were enjoyed as we visited with a family who was using the large space as a staging area for loading four ATVs, as they prepared to head out for a day on the trails.
The orchard was equally exciting as children, parents, pumpkins, playgrounds, horses, apples, donuts and cider filled the day with sights, sounds and smells.
I remember hearing those four words, spoken ever so quietly. I honestly can’t remember exactly where but It seems like it was while we were walking hand in hand among the large band saw, planer and drum sander.
“I love you, Papa.” Had I not been attentive, it could have easily been missed. “I love you too Weston.” The day ended all too soon, and with both of us asleep for a late afternoon nap as the family all returned. But I will forever treasure the moments we had alone and hearing those unsolicited words.
Sunday worship was a blessing, as it always is. “Helping People Know Jesus and Making Him Known.” The words are prominently placed and well lit on the sanctuary wall. As I experienced that worship service, my mind moved back and forth between the inspiration of the moment and the memories of the day before. I spent time alone with Weston, exposing him to sights and sounds and experiences some of which he had never had before. I explained to him “why” various tools were needed for the different tasks and “how” things worked.
The beauty of our day centered on enjoying the relationship we have with each other. The blessing of life comes as each of us has a similar relationship of trust and love with God, spend time alone with God, and because of our faith in our Savior Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I talk regularly to Weston about God and Jesus and living as a disciple of Jesus. When the moment is right, I am equally willing to share with others the impact God has in my life and how they too can hear God’s voice speaking to them, “I love you_____.”
A great deal is often written about justice, social holiness and addressing systems of oppression and injustice. I contend that John Wesley had a unique gift and vision for calling people to the equally balanced life of personal holiness and social holiness. They are dependent upon one another. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel as though I hear and read far more about social holiness and less about encouraging persons to a life of personal holiness (evangelism), faith in Jesus Christ for their salvation and the resulting fruit of one’s desire to transform the world.
If you desire an opportunity to learn more about evangelism, I encourage you to set aside Friday and Saturday, November 1 & 2, 2019 and attend the Embrace Training Event at Dexter UMC. Embrace offers a way to think about evangelism that can help people become comfortable showing and sharing the love of Jesus in a way that is authentic and natural. It sets out six essential values that lie at the heart of authentic faith-sharing: humility, clarity, prayer, integrity, worship, and urgency. The event is led by the Rev. Dr. Kim Reisman, The World Director of World Methodist Evangelism. Other details will be in a future MI Connect article. To register and find additional information go to http://www.EmbraceDexter.Eventbrite.com.
The writer of Proverbs wisely taught us, “Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).” Life is about far more than orchards, lumber yards, football games and “games of politics and thrones” we see played out in Washington D.C. Jesus prophetically taught us, “If you make my Word your home, you will indeed be my disciples. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:13 New Jerusalem Bible)
I pray that these reflections, invitations, and opportunities will assist you in your own witness and service as a Disciple of Jesus Christ.