Daily Devotionals

Devotional: November 1st

Yesterday marked the thirtieth anniversary of a milestone for my wife and me. Thirty years ago yesterday we hosted our very first Kelley family Thanksgiving meal. Our oldest son, John, was almost two years old while Sean and Kara had not yet come along. We were ministering to the Church of Christ in Bainbridge, Ohio at that time and had all my family over to the parsonage for turkey dinner with all the trimmings. My Aunt Helen and Uncle Orlyn and their four kids all came as did my grandmother Kelley and, of course, my mom and dad.

That Thanksgiving had a pall cast across it. We were one person short that year for the first time. My grandfather, Ora Kelley, was not with us. Just four days prior to Thanksgiving he was found by a person who was taking a walk early on a Sunday morning. Pawpaw, as we called him, was found hanging by an electrical cord in his garage. He had committed suicide. Every emotion you can imagine is experienced at a time like that. Every one, that is, except thanksgiving.

Now, looking back, that emotion is there. I thank God that Pawpaw got to see his great grandson Kelley since all my sister's kids were Snyders. Sadly, that's something that neither of my parents got to see. I am thankful for each time he and I sat down with a pound of cheese at their kitchen table and just talked. I am thankful for my first experience of driving a tractor at age three while sitting on his lap with his strong hands just fractions of an inch away from the wheel.

Yes, I am thankful for the life of my grandfather. Do I think he's in heaven? I have the strongest impression that he's probably not. Does that dim my enthusiasm for going to heaven? Not in the least. I want to be with the Christ who died for me and the Father who sent Him to do so. But that is not the impact of this thought today. My grandfather committed suicide at a time of the year when the elderly are most likely to do so. Had I known that I would probably have looked for all the signs and spent more time with him.

Look around your area where you live. Are there any elderly folks around? Perhaps there are some who live alone. If there are, pay attention to the flow of people through their home. Watch and see how active their lifestyle is. If no one ever stops in to see them with any frequency or if they never seem to go anyplace, get to know them. In fact, even if they do, get to know them anyway. Researchers have found that elderly people have a greater sense of belonging based on their friendships than their family anyway. Adopt a grandparent or two this holiday season. Hopefully, through your efforts, someone else's holiday season will not be marred with tragedy. "Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these, my brethren, you did it to me." Matthew 25:40

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