Sole Fide, Sole Christi

As I approach the ending years of my life (I am 77), things are coming into sharper focus concerning what matters and what doesn’t. The thing that matters most to me right now, as I am sure this will remain primary going forward, is my faith in my Lord and Savor Jesus Chris. I tend to say things these days like, “Jesus Christ and him crucified, resurrected, and sitting at the right hand of the Father is the only thing that matters. Everything else will take care of itself or work itself out.”

I know to some people, that sounds extreme, but to me it is the natural outworking of being a born again Christian and the only thing about it I regret is that it took me so long to make that the priority of my existence. So many years eaten by the locusts pursuing so many temporary and unimportant things. Now, seeing a limited future, my biggest concern is where to spend what time I have left. I still work full time. This is mostly to pay for the remodeling we are doing of our home.

About 10 years ago we decided to get out of debt and to never go into it again. I turned in a 401K, ate the taxes, and paid off all of our debt. Most people I knew thought I was crazy, but my wife and I disagree. We have never looked back. We then began the complete rebuilding of our mid-1800s home that sits on about 3/4 of an acre (75X250’ plus) including completely reshaping the yard, which includes a spring fed stream running across the yard about 90 feet behind the house. The front L of the house only sits 15 feet off the road so all of our lot is behind us. We do have a sewage easement about 40 feet behind our house. The county put sewage through in the mid-80s to prevent having to condemn about 80% of the properties since the rocky soil doesn’t perk enough for adequate drain fields in most locations. Surprisingly, many people still had outhouses. In the 70s Smithsonian magazine did an issue with The Outhouses of Oella as their cover story.

We still have about $120,000 worth of work to do to finish the changes we started, which would be impossible if I quit work and we kept our promise to ourselves and God to avoid debt. I think you can see my quandary between my stated purpose above and this rather mundane need. There are a number of spiritual, biblical things I would prefer to do rather than working but then we couldn’t finish the house. Everything is half finished. We live in an ongoing construction site and my wife has been a real trooper putting up with all of this. That said, all of this has been complicated by the unexpected death of my best friend and the master carpenter/cabinet maker who has been working with me on the house the last 7 years. He found out he had pancreatic cancer and died four weeks later. That happened a couple of weeks ago. He was just starting on the cabinet doors and facings for all of the cabinetry as well as preparing all of the trim in the house. They are to be all oak, which we milled the source lumber from rough cut timber from a local sawmill. All the shaping is still to be done…

So many decisions now, so few choices that seem to lead in the right direction. This process of reordering my life is just beginning (started about 6 months ago while in Florida visiting my sister for Christmas) and now with my friend gone I am still trying to find my way to where God wants me to go. There is one thing that my sole fide, sole Christi does give me and that is the assurance that God will provide what I need to do his will in my remaining life. Not what I want, but what I need. I hold onto that and persevere ahead by the grace of God.

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