NOTE: We're delighted to welcome back Jamie Jenkins as a regular blogger in the Day1 Blog stream!
Every day is like Saturday. While that is not exactly true, it does describe the change after 41 years of service in the North Georgia Conference. Sunday is the one exception. As we gather with fellow believers on Sunday I am reminded that there is still a rhythm to life.
July 1 was the first time in over 55 years that I did not receive a paycheck from my work. Thankfully there was a deposit a few days later from the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits. It was not as much as usual but enough to live on. I am thankful to the church for providing so well for the clergy members of the North Georgia Conference.
Transitioning from 41 years of ministry under Episcopal appointment to having no office to go to and no scheduled responsibilities has been interesting, and for the most part, enjoyable. The not-so-fun part was going through paper and digital files from beginning my first appointment in 1972. Sorting and disposing of church bulletins, newsletters, sermons, and a multitude of miscellaneous data consumed an enormous amount of time. Also I realized that someone else could probably benefit more than me from my books so I gave away most of them.
I have heard people say they are busier in retirement than they were when they were working. I have always been busy trying to do what God, the bishop, and the church expected of me. These past five months have also been pretty busy. The difference: it is "my busy." The opportunity to make choices about just about everything I do or do not do has been wonderful.
I have preached 35 times since the end of Annual Conference. Lena and I began taking Spanish classes. I am working with a couple of young preachers, continuing to post my weekly blog, and doing some traveling.
Lena and I enjoyed a three week, 4,000 miles road trip (mostly on secondary and country roads) up the east coast, and we have just returned from a two-week cruise to Turkey and Greece. I made a trip to Uganda to distribute bed nets, and we have spent two weeks with all our family in Malaysia. Three other trips are planned for next year, and we will go to the Braves Spring Training in March.
Every phase of life can have meaning and purpose. I did not retire with a plan, but I believe if I am doing today what I am supposed to do, I will be where God wants me to be tomorrow. God has not failed me yet.
I hope opportunities to preach will continue, and Lena and I will travel as long as health and money permits. I will assume some responsibilities in a local church the first of January and plan to help promote Imagine No Malaria in North Georgia next year. I am not sure what all the future holds but "my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace." (Acts 20:24)
Taken with permission from Monday Morning in North Georgia. North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church