I was never offended. How could I? After all, I was pastor of the best church any minister ever served. Even honored me as the only ‘pastor emeritus’ in the history of the church. The members even stuffed the ballot box of our local newspaper, voting me the first ever ‘Best Clergy on the Twin Harbors’. And, I didn’t have to pay anyone! As honored as I’ve been, nevertheless, each weekly paycheck always had the same notation at the bottom left-hand corner–‘guest speaker’. For 14 years I was their ‘guest speaker’! Longest serving pastor…best clergy…emeritus! ‘Guest speaker’?
Psalm 39: 12–‘Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears! For I am a sojourner with you, a guest, like all my fathers’. He writes that we’re all guests when it comes to this fast-moving life. David says, ‘O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Surely a man goes about as a shadow!(Psalm 39: 5-6 ESV). Life wizzes by at jet speed. Nothing of earth lasts forever. Fourteen years as pastor seems like a momentary shadow. Twenty years as a financial planner but a dim and distant memory.
More Bible passages that say much the same. Leviticus 25:23–‘The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine(God speaking). For you are strangers and sojourners with me.’ 1 Chronicles 29:15–‘For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding.’ Hebrews 11: 13–‘These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.’
See why I can’t be offended at being called ‘guest speaker’? Merely acknowledging that time will be short, passing quickly, making room for the next pastor, who will also be ‘guest speaker’. That’s what we all are in this life. Not just me. Oh, I feel much better!
Make the most of what God gives you in this life. After all, the best is yet to come. The good we’ll experience here. Even better at times. But the best He reserves for later. For some of you, much later. For some of us, not far off. And that’s the best news of all!
Prayer: Lord, help us to make the most of our time here on earth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.