Thought for the Month (October 2010)

We all have hobbies and interests. Sometimes when we attend the funeral of a friend or acquaintance we are surprised to learn, during the eulogy, of the interests the deceased had. Maybe we should have got to know them better while they were still alive! You can usually find up to ten enthusiastic indoor bowlers sitting in the pews at Hawkenbury URC on a Sunday morning and I include myself in that number. I also enjoy writing poetry, and these two interests came together in a poem which I wrote a few years ago.

It's only a game – or so we all say –
As we get out our woods and get ready to play,
And once on the rink we will all try our best,
For to register victory is everyone's quest.

But when you don't win do you say a "Well done"
Or do you lay blame why the game wasn't won?
It's lovely to win and victory is sweet,
But it's harder to generously smile in defeat!

I displayed this poem on the Club notice board under the title 'If the Cap Fits'. Hopefully it may have given some of our more competitive members a little food for thought!

Approximately forty years ago I was invited to fill the 'Children's Address' slot on a Sunday morning at the old Mount Pleasant Church and I used it to talk about hobbies and interests. I invited the congregation to tell me of theirs and together we drew an expanding wheel, with our church at the hub. We were all surprised how far the spokes extended and – to change the metaphor – how far the ripples of influence and opportunity travelled. We're not all called to stand up in the pulpit or go banging on doors, but through our example and day-to-day contacts we may cause others to stop and think, and perhaps even realise that we have got something which they are missing. We read in the Bible (Acts 4 v 13) that when people met some of the early Christians “they took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus". I wonder whether the people that we meet on the bowls rink, at the W.I. meeting or on the allotment have that same experience. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said “By their fruits ye shall know them". (Matthew 7 v 20). May we all strive to be good 'gardeners' wherever our hobbies and interests take us, so that others will want to “taste and see that the Lord is good". (Psalm 34)

John Eldridge

(John is an Elder at Hawkenbury URC)

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Tunbridge Wells United Reformed Church