I live an over-privileged life. (It is better than I deserve.)
In a world so full of pain and suffering, hardship and tragedy, abuse and exploitation…I have been spared so much of what others cannot escape. There was a time when I wondered if the life I get to lead was the result of luck, fate, hard work, or some combination thereof. Somewhere along the way my thoughts migrated from “Why do I get to live the life I lead?” to “What am I doing with the life I have?” I realized, I have been blessed to bless, given to give, and graced to grace. The One I follow said “to whom much is given, much is required”.
So next week we celebrate Thanksgiving, instead of just coming up with a list of things you are grateful for, what if you came up with a list of things you were going to do for others as an expression of your gratitude. As the One I follow also said, the crazy thing about it is that somehow “it is in giving that we receive”.
The future…is it simply fate or something we help create?
I believe it is something God invites us to create with Him. I can seek to influence but I cannot control the direction and decisions of governments and nations. What I can control is my direction and decisions. I choose to work with God and the church in the creation of a future that reflects His beauty, grace and love for everyone. And Jesus once said that nothing can prevail against that…not even the gates of hell.
What the world becomes is not up to one man or woman…it is up to God and us. Roll up your sleeves and move forward with faith, hope and love.
I’m busy now…I’ll stick it in my “I’ll deal with it later” file.
I’m uncertain at the moment…I’ll stick it in my “I’ll deal with it later” file.
I’m don’t wanna deal with this…I’ll stick it in my “I’ll deal with it later” file.
So I decided that today is “later” and it is time to deal with the file. What did I find? Opportunities missed. A dead-line staring me in the face. A mole hill issue that has now become a mountain.
Ugh! I am reminded of that old adage: “Pay attention to what you pay attention to”.
My wife Jacque is an educator and she has been required to take continuing education courses her whole career.
A doctor friend of mine must do the same in order to keep his license valid.
As a pastor, I have the same mandate.
We all agree that we want our educators, doctors and pastors to stay current with new technology, advances in their field and evolving thought patterns. Should we not do the same as parents, spouses, leaders, marketers, artists, or whatever our chosen field is? And cannot the same be said of our spiritual formation?
The danger of thinking that we are a finished product, is that we stop advancing as pride tells us that more training and learning is not just unnecessary but a distraction.
A quick look at the books on your shelf, the conferences and classes attended this year, or the meetings inked in on your schedule with mentors, and I’ll have a huge hint as to what you care about and how deep that care really is.
While I have your attention, can I ask you to pause and pray for our partners in St Louis du Nord, Haiti. Hurricane Matthew roared by and now the rainy season has arrived with a vengeance. The mosquito population has exploded and malaria is spreading. Pastor Jean has contracted it, and his wife and both their kids are recovering from it.
A flat tire demands that you stop and fix things now or you don’t go forward.
A tire out of alignment lets you keep driving with some corrective measures until it finally gives way.
Both are a problem that must be addressed. One is obvious. The challenge is when things are out of alignment, things that slowly get worse, it takes some wisdom and commitment to decide when to address the matter. Isn’t the same true with relationships, careers, health and all the other stuff that matters in life?