Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Mastering The Art Of Living

Exiting the prison yard after a couple of hours spent with 56 inmates in a faith based dorm, I felt energized and had a great sense of accomplishment.  As I entered the small holding pen that separates the free world from the one of captivity, there was an elderly lady who was in a wheelchair with a Bible in her lap.  My pride and sense of accomplishment quickly vanished as I was suddenly brought back to earth, humbled that someone of that age would be serving God in a prison.  

A couple weeks later as I was leaving I once again saw the woman entering the prison.  This time a guitar was in her lap along with the Bible. I introduced myself and told her how impressed I was that she was ministering in the prison.  She explained that she considered herself and her husband missionaries to the prison. She said she was 87 years old and they had been ministering in the prisons for 17 years!
That brings a whole new concept to retirement.  What a contrast to the American idea of retirement, to cease all work, spend all of our savings, relaxing, traveling, having fun and enjoying life.  Even though this couple's idea of life in the "retirement" phase was entirely different, I'd say they were still having fun and enjoying life to the fullest.

Thinking of this couple brings to mind one of my favorite quotes . "The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both.”  - James A. Michener

Unfortunately, few people get to live on this level, where their work and faith is their passion and play.  We miss out because we compartmentalize our lives into work, play, vacation, worship so much that we fail to realize that a life that has worship at its center of everything we do, will be a life lived to the fullest.  Worship can be our work and play, our labor and leisure, our pursuit of information and love.  When one loves God and lives for Him, and his or her joy is centered around blessing others,  then just like this elderly couple, one will have mastered the art of living!  

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