Tag Archives: Wife

Pear Salad and Selfless Service

Jen's Pear SaladOne of the many blessings I am privileged to enjoy is that while I slave away in front of a hot computer all evening and over weekends, reading what other bloggers are writing and pretending to write myself, my gorgeous wife loves to express her creativity in the kitchen.  She presents the results of her creativity onto two plates every day (and twice a day on weekends) and I am invited to escape from the salt mine, put my creativity on hold, and share the delights that have emerged from hers.  And, wow, is it good!

Unfortunately there is no Freshly Pressed award for Jen’s work, and (fortunately) we don’t have a thousand visitors, or even a dozen, sampling her creativity every day—just me.  And that’s the difference between us.  I get excited about the possibility of people out there reading what I write, or hearing me tell a story or preach a sermon.  It is that potential audience that is my incentive and that encourages me first of all to write, and second to write as well as I can.  I am amazed (and blessed) that Jen’s delight is to create for its own sake and to produce something beautiful just for the two of us to enjoy.  If not freshly pressed, something freshly squeezed emerges from the kitchen every night. 

The picture shows a pear and blue cheese salad that Jen threw together for lunch today.  If it looks to you anything less than exquisite, blame my poor photographic skills failing to capture its magnificence.  Of course, I don’t want to rave about it too much in case it results in a steady stream of visitors at our door each night.  (Forgive the Christmas tablecloth!)

I think of the line in John Milton’s poem, “They also serve who only stand and wait.”  But this is more than waiting.  This is service.  And there are so many people in service around us who receive no reward, no accolades, hardly any notice, and very little thanks. 

There are door stewards at our church and those who pour the tea; there are those who faithfully visit the elderly and shop for those stuck at home.  There are mothers who quietly put their own lives on hold in order to raise their children; they willingly encourage their husbands in their careers seemingly oblivious to their own loss and without anyone noticing their sacrifice.  The list is endless; the people, hidden.

Pride wants always to question my endeavours, “Will anyone notice me?  Will someone remark on my hard work or my skilfulness?  Will my efforts be recognised?”

Lord, give me a heart that is willing, not wanting;
A focus on giving service, not reaping reward;
A work distinguished by what others receive, not recognition of my efforts
Lord, give me a delight in hiddenness and quietness,
A love of the backstage, not centre stage;
And, when thrust to the fore, let it be in service, not to seek acclaim.



Filed under Odds & Ends

The Treasure Hidden in a Field


A story told at Prestbury Methodist Church, Pietermaritzburg on 14 February 2010

Matthew 13:44

The Field

I was digging in old Benjamin’s field.  He allowed us to plant vegetables in the lower end of the field by the old fig tree, just as long as we shared them with him.  He wasn’t one to give anything away.  Joanna had made my lunch as she always did when I was working away from home.


“I’ll just finish this furrow,” I told myself.  “Then I’ll stop for lunch.”

As I dug, some of the earth fell away and subsided into a hole below ground.  An old foxhole, I thought, and as I dug further into the hole it seemed to run closer to the fig tree.  I found pieces of wood and then the remains of an old wooden box, about four feet by two.  Most of it had rotted away and that may have encouraged the collapse of the hole.  The box was full of clothing, I think.  It was hard to tell; most of it had also rotted and, mixed with the soil, it disintegrated in my fingers.  But there was something else—another box under the clothing, unlike anything I’d ever seen before.  Although it was very dirty it was clearly very beautiful.  When I rubbed it, what looked like gold shone in the sunlight.

Continue reading


Filed under Stories