I’m not Benjamin Franklin. I do not claim to have lived such an important life as Benjamin Franklin. Yet I have lived an interesting life.
I’m not just saying that. Others whom the Lord has led into my path and know me have told me I should write a book about my life. But at least three obstacles have kept me from doing so. The first was how to write it all down so the reader does not conclude I am writing fiction. The second was how to get anyone to read it. Third, and most importantly, I don’t want the focus to be on me but on God and what He was and is doing with my life. I want the last chapter of my life to read:
"For David [insert here Jerry], after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers, and underwent decay.”[i]
The Lord has gathered six individuals around me through the instrumentation of the personal computer. We connect each Friday morning by Zoom and study the Bible for two hours. It is one of the greatest blessings of my life. As we study together, we each use our experiences anecdotally to help us explain what we are learning from God’s Word. I usually do most of the talking, not purposely because I want it to be a Bible study and discussion. My brothers and sister in Christ find my life experiences captivating. They frequently remind me that I should write a book.
As I pondered this, it dawned on me. I am writing an autobiography with this blog. As you read the articles I post, you will notice that I use my personal experiences to explain how God’s plan has led and molded me for nearly eighty years. The one book God allowed me to publish, Can We Talk: About Matters of This Life, is on this website. Research papers from my undergraduate and graduate studies are also on my website.
Jotting down my thoughts in a web blog is a way for me to write my autobiography. It is what God is teaching me from His autobiography. As this website has developed, I found it difficult to categorize my blogs. Eventually, I settled on posting them by date under the category, Let’s Talk About… This came from the title of my book. The book title ends with …Matters of This Life.
This last part of the title of the book is derived from the Greek term, biotikos, found in 1 Corinthians 6:3-4:
Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, matters of this life? If then you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church?[ii]
Isn’t this what an autobiography of a Christian is? With God’s wisdom and the mind of Christ, we learn what God has and is doing in our lives under the sun. As I reflect on this, I realize that this web blog is my autobiography.
The Apostle Paul wrote regarding what God was doing in his life:
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.[iii]
As I consider my autobiography, I heartily agree with Paul, especially in counting all my experiences as rubbish compared to the great privilege and blessing of knowing Christ through His Word. The opportunities to study and teach His Word has led me to better understand what He was and is doing in my life. I also realize that I cannot write the last chapter. Someone else will need to do that.
I want to give a shout-out to ourchurch.com for providing me with the technology that goes into producing this website. Every time I sit down to write, I learn new things about how to use it. I learn best by doing. In the early days of constructing my website, their customer service provided me with the information I needed to get started. They have taken what many pay thousands of dollars for, simplified it, and coached me in how to use this wonderful tool. I still consider myself a novice in website management.
After posting several articles to my site it became apparent that visitors would be hard-pressed, as I was, to find specific information on the website because of the amount of information. I was told this problem was already addressed in the sidebar of every article I post.
You will notice at the top of the sidebar on the left of the page is a brown search field. One can enter any term or phrase and it will find every article in which that term or phrase occurs. Then using the search feature in Microsoft Word (ctr + F) every occurrence of the term can be located in that article. Wow! What a powerful tool.
In 2010, I was working at Premera Blue Cross as a product configuration analyst. The job required a lot of memory. The damage done to my brain by the Interferon treatments for cancer four years earlier caught up with me. That, together with other health issues, led my doctors to recommend I retire. Since I needed their permission to return to work, I took this to be God’s will.
I have experienced a number of setbacks in my life. My goal of becoming an architect, my desire to earn a Ph.D. so I could teach. Both of these were thwarted because of health issues. There have been many other setbacks in my personal life and ministry. James cautioned:
Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that."[iv]
I firmly believe Paul’s statement:
“…the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”[v]
It is important to note that good in this context is the Greek term agathos not kalos. The difference is that kalos is intrinsically good, pleasant, and/or beautiful. Agathos, on the other hand, is beneficial, but not necessarily pleasant and beautiful. It accomplishes God’s eternal purpose. This distinction is especially true in Romans 8:28, a text often misunderstood:
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.[vi]
My autobiography, if written in a book, would have many chapters explaining the twists and turns my path has taken me beginning when I was only two years old. Yes, I remember events that took place then. My path continued into dark places like being sexually molested in foster homes. I won’t join the Me Too crowd because those dark experiences are part of the path that I now see as God’s will, that which was agathos instead of kalos. Isn’t that what Romans 8:28 means?
As you follow my blogs you will learn more about the path God has chosen for me. If you find these beneficial, please share them with others who might also find insight into their lives. Send me the email address of anyone who might want to be notified when new blogs are added. Then give me feedback. This helps me know if I am hitting the target. I want my life to be a blessing to others.
Out on the highways and byways of life,
many are weary and sad;
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife
making the sorrowing glad.
Make me a blessing,
Out of my life
May Jesus shine;
Make me a blessing, O Savior, I pray,
Make me a blessing to someone today.
adapted from Hymnslyrics.org
[i] Acts 13:36.
[ii] 1 Cor 6:3-4.
[iii] Phil 3:7-14.
[v] Rom 12:2b.
[vi] Rom 8:28.