Pass the… Casserole

I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise will always be in my mouth (Psalm 34:1, Common English Bible).

This is part 25 in the November Thanksgiving series, “Pass the…” for a listing on the other posts please see the index.

We live in a place and time where we never seemed satisfied. We always want more. We watch athletes and other entertainers fight over an extra million or two. We see corporations moving business overseas because they can make even more money by lowering the costs of production. Over and over again, we see people who have so much never seeming to be satisfied with what they had. They always seem to want even more. Sometimes I ask myself the question, “How much is enough?”

Then, on the other hand, there are those who have very little. Perhaps they have a job, but it is a job that pays minimum wage. Can you imagine trying to support yourself on $7.25 an hour? What about supporting a family on that money? I can’t. Yet when I talk to some of these people, the words I hear often are, “God has blessed me so.”

I read something the other day, even people who live below the poverty level in the United States, on the world economy, are in the top ten percent of world incomes. It is scary what some people have to live on and yet many are more thankful than those of us who have so much.

I am blessed. When I look around at all I have, I know that I am blessed. I own a condo. I have two cars. There is always food in my pantry. I have a job I enjoy, working with some great people. I am far from being rich but I am also very far from being poor. Could I use more money? Probably. Do I need more money? If I am honest with myself, I can live comfortably on what I have.

What do I truly need? I need a place to live, a roof over my head? The church provides me with a house that is quite comfortable. In planning for the future Cindy and I have also bought a condo that we will live in when we retire.

I need clothes to wear. I have a pretty large closet in the parsonage. It is pretty full, and most of the clothes belong to me. I have drawers full of other clothes and that doesn’t include the clothes that are in the condo. Yet, I need clothes but I think I’ve got it covered.

I need food and water. While we hear of problems with lead in local water systems or bacteria in the water supply, but compared to people in places like Haiti, I am blessed to have relatively clean water from a reliable supply. Could it improve? Without question. Could it be worse? Absolutely. We shouldn’t be satisfied with contaminated water, but at the same time, we need to be thankful.

I can pretty well eat whatever I want. I can go to the grocery store and buy many different foods from places all over the world. Some of it may not be real healthy, some of it may be food I don’t like so much but at least part of that is on me. There is food to eat. I am thankful.

I am not overly crazy about casseroles. I always eat at least a little when casseroles are there. I once had a co-worker who talked about the difference between fuel and food. Fuel gives us the sustenance we need to continue to live. Food is what we really enjoy. For me, casseroles are fuel. I eat them because I need to fuel to keep going. I would rater have some tasty food.

Still, I am thankful for casseroles because they give me what I really need. They make me thankful for what I have. My life isn’t always easy, but for what I have, I am thankful. God has blessed me with all I need.

So, would someone please pass the casserole? I need some fuel for the days ahead.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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