I read a post from Ann Voskamp. It is remarkable. In it she wrote that it was time to be done with “…no risk, no sacrifice, no point lives.” I love what she wrote because I agree. But the problem for me is that next to most of the people I know, I’m already living that kind of life and that can make me feel pretty good about myself. (Bear with me through the bloviating below, there’s a point. And FYI – Bloviate is defined as “Talking at length, especially in an inflated way.”)
I’ve been to Africa and lived with a family in a small Ghanian village for a week. I’ve been to Haiti and passed out rice, beans, and clean drinking water, and took sandwiches and bananas to 140 men in a Haitian prison. I’ve been on two mission trips to New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina rebuilding and have plans to go on one to New York for Hurricane Sandy rebuilding. My wife and I sponsor two children through Compassion International. I work at the food pantry nearly every week, go to speak to elementary school kids nearly every week during the school year, and have cooked a free dinner nearly every Wednesday night for the last five and a half years for anyone in our church and community who wants to come. And we tithe to our church.
And as if all those things aren’t enough to make me think I’m something special, Sunday after church they are having a going away party for Diane and I. People from throughout the area will file through and for the most part tell us how wonderful we are and what a blessing we have been. (Think the end of the movie It’s a Wonderful Life.) And while their words will be spoken in all sincerity, it is difficult to hear. The truth is I’m just doing what God has called me to do, and so is Diane. The Apostle Paul made the point very well in 1 Corinthians, chapter 15 about what God had used him to do – “Haven’t I worked hard trying to do more than any of the others? Even then, my work didn’t amount to all that much. It was God giving me the work to do, and God giving me the energy to do it.”
Rather than let me fall into the trap of thinking too much of myself (and after reading this blog post you may think it’s too late), God has seen fit to move me away from these people who think too much of me. I am going to a place that knows practically nothing of me. I admit, that has been on my mind… and not necessarily in a good way. What if the people there don’t realize (don’t miss my sarcasm) I’m as great as the people here do? But God knows what I need. And I am grateful that He loves me enough to give me what I need.
And God knows what the people of the Mason UMC need. I think God knows the congregation here needs to rely on Him more and on the pastor less. They need to keep focused on the goal of glorifying Jesus, with a total commitment, staying on the right track, knowing that the good work God has begun in them He will carry on to completion.
And God knows what the congregation of Wesley Chapel UMC in Short Gap needs. He must think they need a Jesus glorifying risk taker. One who is starting from scratch with them, but not starting from scratch with Him. One who remembers that while pastors plant and water, it is God who provides the growth. And while I thank and praise Him that He has provided a lot of growth in me, the church, and the community through our efforts here the last six years, I humbly look forward to the growing He is going to do in me, in the church, and in the community through our efforts at Wesley Chapel.
To God Be the Glory.