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Making Your Life's Work Count

What Abner Peet's trunk says about preaching, life, and doing something worthwhile.

(Editor's Note: Each month Gordon MacDonald shares insights from his journals, in which he logs wit and wisdom from his reading, his study, and his travels.)

From my journal: In the Spoon River Anthology, a collection of poems written by people who reflect back upon their lives and deaths, poet Edgar Lee Masters offers the posthumous words of Rev. Abner Peet:

I had no objection at all
To selling my household effects at auction
On the village square.
It gave my beloved flock the chance
To get something which had belonged to me
For a memorial.
But that trunk which was struck off
To Burchard, the grog-keeper!
Did you know it contained the manuscripts
Of a lifetime of sermons?
And he burned them as waste paper.

The poem taunts me as I sit in my small study surrounded by shelves of notebooks containing—how many?—40-plus years of sermons. I exaggerate only a little when I confess that, in the preparation of each one of those talks, I dared to entertain (even pray for) the ...

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