Words of Wisdom September 2020 Meditation

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By Dr. Laudis H. “Rick” Lanford, GUMF Regional Vice President

Dr. Rick Lanford’s S3 group has been meeting for 15 years. Back row, left to right: Rev. Wayne Racz, Rev. Steve Waldorf, Dr. Derek McAleer, and Dr. Craig Rikard. Front row, left to right: Dr. Jay Harris, S3’s gracious host, Mr. Pete Madon, Dr. Rick Lanford, and Dr. Edwin Chase. (Rev. Robert Beckum is not pictured).

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17

These past several months, I have spent some time sharpening the many knives that my wife, Kim, and I have in our kitchen. We have collected quite a few over the years. I don’t know why, but I seldom get rid of a knife. Different knives require different sharpening techniques. The Alaska ulu knife, which we primarily use for cutting up pizza, is only sharp on one side. The meat cleaver is very heavy and can be cumbersome to sharpen. Then there is the paring knife, which we use almost every day. I use a steel-sharpening tool that pulls the steel away from the blade. After several long and intentional passes against the long narrow file, the blade returns to its sharpness.

I thought about my own life and how blessed I am to have friends who help sharpen my life’s journey. Discussing issues that involve family, church, and politics with friends always comes with a price. It doesn’t always feel good when you are given advice or confronted with an issue that causes hurt or hard feelings. It is like a little bit of you is shed. Although painful, in reality, it causes you to be a better person. It hones out the rough edges that bring you back to life.

For the past 15 years, I have been involved in S3, a small group learning experience which has truly made a huge difference in my ministry. Sponsored by the South Georgia Order of Elders and the Board of Ordained Ministry, it focuses on three areas: Sabbath, Study and Service. This support group of friends has proved to be a lifeline for me in so many ways. We have journeyed together through sickness, health, children, retirement, disability, ministry issues, and opportunities. They picked me up when I was down. They helped me discover the healing power of laugher. They gave me hope when despair had weaved a web of hurt and resentment. They provided a foundation of collective wisdom that sharpened my steel for a better tomorrow.

May your life’s journey allow you to be sharpened by a friend who will be honest and give good advice for your countenance! The late Joseph M. Scriven said it best in the following poem, which later became a hymn:

What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

May God bless!