Dale Shultz and Keith Olsen - Special Meeting for the Elderly 2007

Hymns: 272 - There hath not failed; 108 - It pays to serve Jesus

Dale Shultz

Two thoughts come to me that encourage me. First in John 10:28-29...."And I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out my hand. My Father which gave them to me is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." Through this life we are in the care of a double grip. It is the strongest of hands that hold us but we must keep ourselves in those hands.

Another thought comes to me. When walking through the redwoods of California, we see some that are young, only 3 ft. high, and beside them are older trees, some 300 ft. high. But on closer examination, on the end of every branch on every tree there is new growth. We, too, are always growing. Psalm 92:12, "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree; He shall grow like the cedars of Lebanon." There is no end of growth and fruitfulness, but there is a difference between growth and activity. It pleases God when we bear much fruit. God is always more pleased with what we are than what we do.

In later years, when we are not so able to be so active, we can serve with our love and spirit. "Thou shall love thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." Deut. 6:5. God is always more pleased with what we ARE than what we do. Our love is shown in what we do, but not in the proportion of our love for Him. Near the end of my time in a field, I asked myself who had most encouraged me this year and my mind went to two who were ending life with cancer, no longer able to DO, no longer active, but so fruitful in their Spirit, and in accepting their lot, so full of gratitude to God.

Keith Olsen

First, I want to say thank you to all of you who are a strength to one another here and to those in many other places. "THANKS" is a word we hear so often in meetings everywhere. At a Convention someone decided to record how many times someone said that word. Half way through the second meeting he had already marked down 200 checks, so he stopped. That Spirit pervaded the Convention. Someone at a convention in our country of Pakistan questioned why we were talking so much about "sugar" in the meetings. Well in Pakistan the word for "thanks" is "shuker!"

I want to tell you this afternoon some of the memories of my many privileges at Conventions starting last spring.

I. A memory at Emo when Sunday morning in the meeting Ernest Nelson led that meeting....at 89* years of age. Before he spoke, Margaret Greenaway spoke and started by telling us, "This is my Bethel." It was at Emo 70 years ago she first heard the Gospel. I could scarcely take it in, 70 years ago! Later, over coffee, I questioned her: 70 years ago? She thought a moment then replied, thank you. It was 71 years ago, and I was 15. She was now 86 and very active. Later Jim Ratcliffe had a part at 91 and Kathleen Burns at 96. I could only bow my head and say "SHUKAR."

2. At Olympia an elderly couple, I would guess in their early eighties, sat on the front bench near the brother workers. I appreciated seeing them come in together and sit closely together, enjoying these things together. It was so evident they loved and cared for each other. On Saturday afternoon, he came in first and later she came in and snuggled up to him. He, in a whisper I could hear said, "It is so nice to see you." I quickly calculated...Married perhaps 55 years, or 20,075 days and then on day 20,076 he would say, "So nice to see you!" A wonderful relationship! "SHUKER!"

3. At Santee in California, a younger brother worker, 29, Tom Fredgren, who had started in the work 6 years earlier and not long afterwards, he began to feel unwell and was found to have a malignant growth. Since that time, he has had two major surgeries. His last test he was found to be free, but, "come back in 6 months for your next test." He went for that test during preps at Santee and they discovered a tumor the size of a tennis ball on his liver. It was a shock when they told him there was nothing more they could do for him. Later, at the workers' meeting, Tom thanked all for their help and support and encouragement. He continued, "As I face an uncertain future, I want to commit the rest of my life into this work I love so much, and is worthy of our best."

4. At Olympia in a meeting the young people had the opportunity to give their Testimony...a lovely response. In a later meeting, Lloyd Wilson, 91, whom you saw at Aylesbury this summer, first chose these two Hymns we have just sung. Then he said he was going to do something that day he had never done before. "Yesterday the young people gave their Testimony. This morning it is for those who are 70 and over to share what this Gospel has done for you; that will be a help to us young people!" There were 22 who shared. One told of being baptized 69 years ago, ending, "It pays to serve Jesus"..SHUKAR !

5. At my second convention, a young brother spoke of that hymn: There hath not failed...., and of God's promises to Abraham when he was 75 years old. But Isaac wasn't born until he was 100 years old. God did fulfill His promise. It was 400 years later before God fulfilled the promise to make from his seed a nation, but He kept that promise. He promised a Messiah, and it took 1500 years till Jesus came. And He will come again. Two thousand years later we shouldn't feel that God is slack concerning His promise. We live in a world of money. People buy what they need. They can buy a bed, but they can't buy rest; they buy a Bible but they can't buy Salvation; they can buy a clock but they cannot buy time; they can buy pleasure, but they cannot buy joy. We have those things.... joy, salvation, rest, and time, with no price on them....They are a gift from God.

6. At Greenshields, a young sister whose mother is dying with cancer spoke from Job 12:10..."In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind." She reminded us that we have no choice over the length of time we have our breath, but God requests that we give Him our heart, and she ended, "Both my breath and my heart are in His hands."

7. Two young sister workers were laboring in Greece when there was little liberty. In those days, the friends and the workers often suffered at the hands of the religious and political authorities. But they quietly worked their mission, and a young man made his choice, and left the church. The religious leaders were angered and reported the two sisters to the political authorities, and they were imprisoned. But there they found more liberty to preach to the other women in prison. They read a chapter each day from Acts, and then they came to chapter 16, about God's Servants in prison at the time of the earthquake and the prisoners asked, "Do you believe that?" The next day orders came for their release. Their fellow prisoners said, "Your God is partial!" They replied, "Who believed in God yesterday?" We do gain so much from simple childlike trust in God.

8. A sister at the west coast shared: For 40 years they wandered in the wilderness and every provision made for those people was miracle provision provided by God. It was a miracle cloud that hid them, a miracle fire that led them, miracle manna that fed them, miracle sweet water that quenched their thirst, a miracle that led them through the Red sea, a miracle that renewed their clothes for those forty years, all from God. For the soul, the world is still a wilderness, but every provision is made for our soul: a miracle provision.

9. King David was chosen by God to fill a place in the Kingdom. The Spirit guided Samuel to the boy, David, to anoint him, giving him a God-given place, where some helped him fill that place. We are glad for those who help us in that struggle. First, there was Jonathan, Saul's son, who had a God-given understanding and he was able to encourage David. There was Nathan, the Prophet, who helped him fill his place. David had made a mistake, later hiding his real condition, and he could never prosper like that. Nathan helped him face up to himself. And there was Abigail who came, and with her spirit turned back David's rage and the revenge of the whole army. We are so grateful for those who help us to keep true.

10. A brother from Scotland, who labored in the outer islands, the Shetlands, Orkneys and the Hebrides, was on his way back to Scotland at the end of the mission year. On the boat were several film stars and VIP's. These VIP's were treated with favor. One night they were to sup with the captain, a God fearing man, who first gave thanks. Several of them, by their expressions, mocked him. After the meal and the entertainment, they all went to their rooms for the night. During the night a fierce storm arose, so severe they even tied themselves with ropes to their bunks. Later in the night the VIP's sent a note to the captain: "Will we reach our harbor or not?" The captain replied with a note: "Maybe, maybe not." Again they sent the Captain a note, "Will you come down to pray in the storm?" The captain replied: "I pray in the calm, and I look after my boat in the storm."

11. Separation...our study this week. Jesus died without the camp. As they crossed over the Kidron Valley that night, it was symbolic of His separation from organized religion in Jerusalem. There were four events in Jesus' life indicating His separation from the religious world: He was born in Bethlehem; in Bethany, He was anointed king and priest; on Calvary, He was crucified; at Golgotha, He was buried and arose. All were outside the camp of the religious world. Let us follow Him without the camp. We cannot pay the cost, but we can have fellowship with Him outside the camp.

* That would be 1996