On the Jump

The autumn rain drums pleasantly on the tin roof—an invitation, I suppose, to sit lost in thought.

I accept the invitation.

It has been an emotional month.  There have been crises of varying sizes in my business, some that simply occur in the life of business owners—others which are of my own making.  Other responsibilities have come like an avalanche, family and friends, as well as community involvements taking their pound of flesh, so to speak.

Having weathered the highs and lows with a fragment of success, one might expect a well-earned respite.

I suppose that may come eventually.  Just not yet. 

Daytime hours have been spent on the jump, as an old wartime colloquialism describes it.  When soldiers were constantly harried by enemy troops, fighting on one front and then moving to another location, only to be met with more enemy troops, they were kept on the jump.  

Exhaustion follows.

I spoke recently of my friend who was contemplating what God wanted him to be doing.  In a way, I envy him, exploring new paths and making plans for a correction in navigation.

Years ago, I was reminded in a memorable way, that our Father expects us to be ministers in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.  I have never questioned what my task is since then.

You may believe that ministers have offices in the church building.  You might even think that going into all the world means traveling to Kenya or Peru.  In one respect, you would be correct.

But, that’s not what all ministers do.  It’s not where the mission field is for all who are sent.

The Teacher sat on the edge of the well, looked around at the people who stood there, and told His followers to lift up their eyes and see the fields which were already white with the harvest. (John 4:35)

He wasn’t telling them to look into the distance, nor across the sea.  

They thought it was a time for leisure and for enjoying a meal.  They didn’t realize they were still on the jump.

I said I’ve never questioned my task.  That doesn’t mean I’ve always performed it faithfully, but I have never wondered what it is I’m supposed to be doing.

Every day.  

Every day, it happens.  My door opens and they walk in.  I have called them customers, but I’m learning to open my eyes and ears a little more.  Perhaps they have been opened by something else.  Or Someone else.

I’m just browsing is likely to mean I need a shoulder to cry on.  

Just killing time might even signify I need to know someone cares.

Only this week, a fellow came in to see what new guitars I had hanging on the wall.  Before he left, both of us had cried a few tears.  Loneliness shows itself in strange ways.  Wives who are gone from a life after forty-five years leave a big hole that can’t be filled overnight—or even in a year, or ten.  He didn’t need a new guitar.  He did need a friend.

From broken legs to broken marriages, hungry kids to hungry hearts, the fields are ripe.  

harvest 002Ready to harvest.

Have you ever worked a wheat harvest?  I haven’t either, but I have friends who have described the ordeal to me.  When the wheat is ready to be cut, it’s all ready at the same time.  There is not a minute to waste.

In the modern harvest, from before dawn to well after dark, the big machines work, the exhausted and bleary-eyed operators drinking coffee to keep sleep at bay.  On the jump for the duration, they can’t afford to lose any of the harvest.

We can’t afford to lose any of His harvest.  Not one head of wheat.

The fields we work in vary greatly. Yours doesn’t look like mine.  My field isn’t any more important than yours, or vice versa.

The harvest, however—the harvest is the same.  And, there is always a harvest.  Everywhere.

Look up.

Tonight, the rain still falls outside.  My soul is refreshed. Sleep will come soon.

Morning will bring more work.

On the jump.




Let the nations thank you, O God!
Let all the nations thank you!
The earth yields its crops.
May God, our God, bless us!
May God bless us!
Then all the ends of the earth will give him the honor he deserves.
(Psalm 67:5-7 ~ NET)




© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2015. All Rights Reserved. 


Making The First Move

As they did last night, the skies have opened up and are raining down their gloominess above my head.  And, as it did last night, my heart responds in kind.

I often sit late into the night and put into words what my heart feels, asking the reader to feel it as well—the tears, the pain, the emptiness—eventually reaching a conclusion before I stop writing—a conclusion which shares what my head tells me.

The conclusion is what I want to feel, what I want to experience.

Sometimes what I want is not what I get, and vice versa. 

I suggested, when last I wrote, that it was time to turn the corner and move on in the new direction.  Against my better judgment, and disregarding my fears, I would move on. 

Towards home.

Yet here I sit, in the turn lane still.  My arm is raised, signaling my intent.  My feet are glued to the pavement, with no response to the instructions from my brain.  The traffic lights overhead have cycled endlessly; the motorists behind me, tiring of blowing their horns, are going around this idiot refusing to move.

You’ve been here too, haven’t you?

So, here we sit, rain falling around us and inside of us.  It’s dark out here, as well.  How do we start again?

Perhaps, home is a goal too lofty, and still so very far away.  I wonder—could we just push the pedals once? 

Then, we’ll see what comes next.

Just once.



Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
          Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home—
          Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene, —one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor pray’d that Thou
          Shouldst lead me on.
I lov’d to choose and see my path; but now
          Lead Thou me on!
I lov’d the garish day, and spite of fears,
Pride rul’d my will; remember not past years.

So long Thy power hath blessed me, sure it still
          Will lead me on,
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
          The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have lov’d long since and lost awhile.

(John Henry Newman ~ British Roman Catholic Cardinal ~ 1801-1890)







© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2015. All Rights Reserved.