Graze: To feed on growing grasses.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.

-Ps. 23:1-6

Growing up on a farm, I used to watch the cows, sheep & horses graze in the pasture. Each morning we would open the gate to the barnyard and they knew there was freedom from that small pen they were in. They also knew there was nice green grass beyond the barnyard. Once the gate was open, look out because those animals wanted to get where the tall, green grass grew – the pasture! They would take off sometimes even running up the old fenced lane that went up over the hill through the cornfield to the lush green pasture on the other side of the farm. There they would graze for a while then lay down and rest for a while then graze some more. They did this all day long. Come evening we would go over to the pasture’s edge and call the cows – 'come boss, 'come boss. They would gather at the pasture gate. Sometimes we would have to go round up a few stragglers and when all were accounted for, we’d open the lane gate and back over the hill they would go to the barnyard for the night. The next morning was the same routine, day after day.
What a life, huh?!

Oh that we could just graze and rest in shady green pastures all day long! But we can rest and graze in God’s green pastures and restore our souls . . . The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. (Ps. 23:1) I believe God wants us to slow down and “rest” and “graze” and “feed” on His Word. Life throws so many things our way and we are so busy – busy doing good things. But are we running on empty a good share of the time? Are we feeling stretched to extreme? Are we content with who we are in God’s divine providence? Slow down and take some time to just leisurely graze, rest a while, then graze and feed on the good things God has provided for you. Graze, rest, and enjoy the “shady green pastures” of God’s abundant love, grace, and mercy.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Old Man - Memorial Day

As I came out of the supermarket that sunny day, pushing my cart of groceries
towards my car, I saw an old man with the hood of his car up and a lady sitting
inside the car, with the door open.

The old man was looking at t he engine. I put my groceries away in my car, and
continued to watch the old gentleman from about twenty five feet away.

I saw a young man in his early twenties with a grocery bag in his arm walking
towards the old man. The old gentleman saw him coming too, and took a few steps towards him.

I saw the old gentleman point to his open hood and say something. The young man put his grocery bag into what looked like a brand new Cadillac Escalade. He then turned back to the old man. I heard him yell at the old gentleman saying: "You shouldn't even be allowed to drive a car at your age." And then with a wave of his hand, he got in his car and peeled rubber out of the parking lot.

I saw the old gentleman pull out his handkerchief, and mop his brow as he went
back to his car and again looked at the engine.

He then went to his wife and spoke with her; he appeared to tell her it would be
okay. I had seen enough, and I approached the old man. He saw me coming and
stood straight, and as I got near him I said, "Looks like you're having a

He smiled sheepishly, and quietly nodded his head. I looked under the hood
myself, and knew that whatever the problem was, it was beyond me. Looking
around, I saw a gas station up the road, and I told the old man that I would be
right back. I drove to the station and went I inside. I saw three attendants
working on cars. I approached one of them, and related the problem the old man
had with his car. I offered to pay them if they could follow me back down and
help him.

The old man had pushed the heavy car under the shade of a tree and appeared to be comforting his wife. When he saw us he straightened up and thanked me for my help. As the mechanics diagnosed the problem (overheated engine), I spoke with the old gentleman.

When I shook hands with him earlier, he had noticed my Marine Corps ring and had commented about it, telling me that he had been a Marine, too. I nodded and asked the usual question, "What outfit did you serve with?"

He said that he served with the First Marine Division at Guadalcanal Pelieliu,
and Okinawa.

He had hit three of the worst ones, and retired from the Corps after the war was
over. As we talked we heard the car engine come on and saw the mechanics lower the hood. They came over to us as the old man reached for his wallet, but was stopped by me. I told him I would just put the bill on my AAA card.

He still reached for the wallet and handed me a card that I assumed had his name and address on it, and I stuck it in my pocket. We all shook hands all around again, and I said my goodbyes to his wife.

I then told the two mechanics that I would follow them back up to the station.
Once at the station, I told them that they had interrupted their own jobs to
come along with me and help the old man. I said I wanted to pay for the help,
but they refused to charge me.

One of them pulled out a card from his pocket, looking exactly like the card the
old man had given to me. Both of the men told me then that they were Marine
Corps Reserves. Once again we shook hands all around and as I was leaving, one
of them told me I should look at the card the old man had given to me. I said I
would and drove off.

For some reason I had gone about two blocks, when I pulled over and took the
card out of my pocket and looked at it for a long, long time. The name of the
old gentleman was on the card in golden leaf and under his name was written:
Congressional Medal of Honor Society. I sat there motionless, looking at the
card and reading it over and over. I looked up from the card and smiled to no
one but myself and marveled that on this day, four Marines had all come together because one of us needed help. He was an old man all right, but it felt good to have stood next to greatness and courage, and an honor to have been in his presence.

Remember, as we approach another Memorial Day, old men like him gave you, and all of us, FREEDOM for America. Thanks to those who served and still serve, and to all of those who supported them, and who continue to support them.

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