Today has been a long day, but a good day. After another restless night, I slept in a bit this morning and then took a one mile rugged hike before rewarding myself with a Klondike bar for breakfast. 🙂 I decided to continue the scenic route to the conference, so after my hike and breakfast I headed to Spring Mill State Park and then the combo of Lincoln State Park and the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial sites. I eventually made it to the conference site and got my display set up and the conference books set out in time to take a shower and relax a bit before supper. After supper, the conference officially began with on opening session and I had the privilege of introducing my book, “Almost Heaven”, immediately after the welcome and opening announcements! It was fun to be able to share how God used the conference theme, “Not Home Yet”, as a seed for me to write a 31-day devotional journal for those in attendance. I also shared how God takes our obedience to doing what He calls us to do, and uses it in more ways that we could possibly realize.
As I’m downloading pictures from today off my camera, it’s hard to believe it says there are 210 of them — thankful for digital photography! 🙂 The picture I’ve included on today’s page is what remains of Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood home. While there is now a wall around this small remnant to protect it, I think more surprising to me than the fact that this is all that remains is how small it is for a family dwelling. In a time where many of our society try to portray this country as being founded by, and governed by, rich privileged white folks who never understood the plight of the poor and underrepresented, it doesn’t take a very close look at actual history to realize such a blanket statement is absolutely not true. Yes, there are those who downplay Lincoln’s leadership, but to have someone rise to leadership from simple beginnings who longed for all men to be treated equally is very difficult to even imagine in today’s political climate. So many of our leaders of years gone by lived by the motto made famous by Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Unfortunately, it appears we have become a nation not just asking, but demanding, that our country do something for us rather than seeking how we can serve our country by serving our fellow man. I think Jesus would have liked Kennedy’s statement and the example of Lincoln and so many of our founding fathers. It’s as if they put into practice His teaching that whoever wants to become greatest must become servant of all. When people wonder out loud, “Where have all the great leaders gone?”, the answer often has a lot to do with answering the question, “Where are those who will serve, expecting nothing in return?”.
I pray that you and I would follow the example and teaching of Jesus and seek to serve others rather than ourselves. I pray that we would honor leaders who become great by serving and not let their memory be tarnished. I pray that we would ask ourselves often what we can do for our country and the people around us. After we ask, I pray that we would do it without grumbling.