June 27, 2011

When Traveling Turns to Tragedy

“Then he [Jesus] used this illustration. He said, “A rich man had land that produced good crops. He thought, ‘What should I do? I don't have enough room to store my crops.' He said, ‘I know what I'll do. I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones so that I can store all my grain and goods in them. Then I'll say to myself, “You've stored up a lot of good things for years to come. Take life easy, eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.”' “But God said to him, ‘You fool! I will demand your life from you tonight! Now who will get what you've accumulated?'” Luke 12:16-20 (GW)

Traveling for us is usually an adventure and this time should have been no different. Bob left at the beginning of June for Montana. I followed five days later. The Gobbs family “boys” were gathering to prepare for an estate auction. When their father passed away last year, he left a large multitude of personal belongings behind. And when I say a “large” amount, I am not kidding.

The family had already divided-up what was heirloom and sentimental. However, his dad had so much stuff, some of what the family wanted still wound up on the auction block. Therefore several family members actively participated in this auction adventure. Two warehouse rooms and at least five tractor/trailer beds were filled to capacity. The fun began at 10:00am one Saturday and by 4:30pm it was over. Things that were once of great value to one man were gone. Now they were just someone else’s stuff.

The next day everyone headed to their respective homes. Bob and I hitched a ride with Bob’s middle brother back to their side of the state. We were flying out the next day. His youngest brother headed back to North Dakota, following his wife, Louise, who was driving her own pick-up with trailer attached. The trailer contained prized auction wins.

Louise was a remarkable person. Partially paralyzed and in a wheelchair (car accident 12 yrs ago), she worked, sewed for pageant queens and beauty contestants. She was a wife, mother and grandmother. Nothing seemed to slow her down but even remarkable women get tired.

I cannot imagine the horror Loren felt as he watched Louise’s truck drift from one lane to another, into the median and then jerk back across the road. The truck rolled several times before coming to a rest. A frantic husband ran to check on his wife, who was not in the cab of the truck when he arrived. After seconds that must have seemed like hours, he spotted her unconscious body on the ground.

She never regained consciousness before she died several hours later.

The next day, several close family members went back out to the crash site to retrieve personal items. The truck was banged up but not demolished. While a few chairs and antique trunks from the trailer survived the ordeal, other pieces were reduced to rubble.

I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about a myriad of things. My mind pondered quite a bit on stuff. Stuff - we all have it. We all want it. Sometimes we fight over it. Sometimes we get jealous over it. Sometimes we hoard it for any number of reasons. We think our family will want our stuff after we are gone but in the case of Bob’s dad, most of it went to strangers.

Okay, some stuff went to the family. Some of his stuff made it back to our homes and in the case of Louise, some of it didn’t.

Bottom line, it’s just stuff. Most of the stuff is just going to collect dust or become dust. In the last several months, I heard of many instances that during a family loss, some people fight over stuff. Apparently, there is always someone who wants more stuff than someone else. Yet in the end, it is all just stuff. As for me, I’d rather have one more chance to tell Louise and Papa Gobbs that I loved them.

When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, souls are worth more than stuff. People are more important than pretty trinkets. Loving one another surpasses lording stuff over one another.

I just thought I’d give you some stuff to think about and thank you for all your prayers!

Love, Barbara

June 06, 2011

What Does it Take to be a Success?

“How can a young man keep his way pure?” Psalm 119:9a (NASB)

Before I get showered with complaints thinking I am only addressing young men, I want to make a statement. I am talking about old men too. But I am also thinking about young women and old women as well. I also believe the writer of this Psalm would agree.

It’s a good question and one worthy of an answer, especially in light of the culture we live in, raise kids in and grand-kids in today. So I will leave you this week to mull over that question and see what God lays on your heart.

Okay – I am not in a very catchy or clever mindset this morning. However, I believe you can help me this week. A few months ago, I was asked to speak at a Bible Study/Ladies Event at our church scheduled for next month. Of course, I agreed immediately – as I ask God for these opportunities often.

I was given a subject area to speak on and usually after I receive that information, God quickly begins to impart bits and pieces of Scripture, as well as thoughts and points to use. However, this time, not so much, at least in the beginning.

After some meditation and prayer, a pattern emerged and after some discussion with our Women’s Director, the evening’s message will be:

After Hope...What's Next?
How to be Successful in Your Faith

Now here is where my request to you comes in. In the last few days, I have been getting more specific thoughts from the Father and through His Word. But I am curious as to how the average person would answer the question. Now this isn’t really fair – since all of you are above average people in my book, but I want to know what you think. Off the top of your head, just a few lines: What do YOU think it takes to be a successful Christian? (Let’s say knowing Christ is a given – so what’s next?) I’ll use no names and there is no right/wrong per say. I am just taking a survey.

You can email me at barbaragobbs@gmail.com (or any other legit email you have for me) or leave a comment on the blog. If you are in the area on June 17th from 7-9pm, I invite you to come to our event at Kernan Blvd Baptist Church on Kernan Blvd in Jacksonville, FL. If you are unable to make the event, keep watch for my blog on June 20 when I will reveal all! Well, at least some, since I don’t know it all. But don’t tell my hubby that!

Until next week, “give thanks to the Lord for He is good…” (Psalm 118:29)