August 2

Written by Bill Grandi on August 2nd, 2023

There is a woman in the church I pastor whom I dearly love. She and her husband of over 50 years began attending after their daughter and son-in-law began months before them. They had attended another church for most of their married life. The hymns, pews, hymn books, and “church-like decor” was home to them. Through a series of circumstances, they began attending the church and I fell in love with them and their sweet spirit. It was hard for them to adjust. We don’t sing hymns or use hymn books. We have chairs not pews. Our building lacks church-like decor and has an industrial look. But they kept coming. He was once asked why they kept coming when it was hard to adjust to the differences. He said, “For the preaching. That man preaches the Word.” WOW! was I humbled by that.

Sadly, his health declined and several years ago he went to be with Jesus. She still comes and is a great encouragement. But I can see the hole in her heart, the loneliness, and every once in a while she will voice it. She is not flashy. She is not one who “works the room.” She is not “all over the place” personality-wise (unlike yours truly who knows no stranger).

She tickled me one Sunday. When she came it, I hugged her and said, “Good morning Jane (not her real name). How ya’ doing this morning?”

“Well…I’m vertical.”

I chuckled and said, “Well…I guess that is better than the alternative.”

There are different ways to look at that:

  • She’s awake not asleep.
  • She’s standing not laying.
  • She’s alive not dead.

Here’s another: Some people live horizontally, never giving thought to the vertical. Some live vertical, never giving thought to the horizontal. The former has no heavenly connection. The latter has little or no earthly connection. (So heavenly-minded they are no earthly good).

To my way of thinking we need both. We need the vertical connection with God, which in turn, affects our horizontal connection with people.

To put it another way: Love God. Love people.


8 Comments so far ↓

  1. Ryan S says:

    I think your description of vertical and horizontal are right on… I think the reality if your seeking God is likely more on the diagonal. If God is the center and at the top (vertical), we are on some trajectory toward God… The more we reach God, by default, the more we connect with people. We may all not do it the same way. Some will reach the crowds, some will peel off and meet the isolated. Some will simply be available with a listening ear and heart. You sum it well… Love God. Love People.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      i do think your description of a diagonal picture is probably more accurate than mine since no one is straight vertical or straight horizontal. We tend to “ease” into a relationship with God rather than be a hard driver. But at least we can love God and love people.

  2. A poignant story, Bill, and wonderful advice for all of us who follow the Lord. Let’s not be so vertical that we fail to look horizontally at the needs of those around us.

  3. gail says:

    Thinking about heaven is an awesome experience, one we should look forward to absolutely. However God, relies on us to carry out His kingdom agenda here on earth, and we each have a special part of that agenda that is unique to each of us. God can handle it on His own, but wouldn’t it be so fulfilling to get to heaven and find out that what we did on earth, made a real impact for God’s kingdom. I always think of God’s kingdom as a puzzle, and I do not want to get to heaven, see the puzzle, and see a piece missing and realize that it my piece that went unfulfilled. I know my impact on earth is important to God, and I want to be a part of that puzzle, I cannot wait to see how it all fits together.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I, too, think of heaven and can’t wait to see it. Interesting analogy you use Gail about the puzzle. Since I like to do puzzles, it is an interesting way to look at it. I have had puzzles-brand new ones in fact-where some pieces were missing. Not a fun thing to experience. I want my life to fill that empty piece of the puzzle of someone’s life.

  4. Cheryl says:

    It is surely a high compliment to be said of you that you preach the Word. Especially, in this woke, liberal society full of such watered down, sugar-coated “preaching.” I think there are a lot of people who really long to hear the pure, unadulterated truth. I sure am one of those. God bless you for being true to Him, Pastor Bill.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I did consider it a compliment Cheryl. I want to go down fighting for the Truth of God’s Word. I once had someone tell me that because I didn’t see the creation account as they do that I will compromise and accept the Bible says are evil and sinful. I pray that will never happen…no matter what. I’m also happy to hear you say that you want to stand on His Word as well.