I have just returned from being away in August. The end of summer, especially here in the north, comes abruptly. The temperature starts dropping this week. Yet, I am grateful. I am grateful because my youngest daughter has returned from California and I love having my girls around. I am grateful because, despite the fun of no normal schedule and being free of the usual responsibilities, I like a routine to life and getting reconnected with my brothers and sisters in Christ here. I also love all the seasons. I can't wait to see the colours of the trees and to smell the autumn air as I try to find time to head out into the woods now and again. Maybe, we'll even get our annual visit from a black bear in the back yard.
As I return to life and to ministry here this fall, I thought I would share with you a passage of Scripture that is guiding my mind and helping my heart. It is 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18. I appreciate this because it helps me focus on what life as part of God's family ought to look like - when the temptation is either to fall back into an old routine mindlessly, or to jump energetically into a new system which can carry us along for a while, as an unfortunate substitute for genuine life in Christ.
Here is how it reads and I will break it up so you can hear the parts that make up the whole:
"We urge you, brethren,
admonish the unruly,
encourage the fainthearted,
help the weak,
be patient with everyone.
See that no one repays another with evil for evil,
but always seek after that which is good for one another
and for all people.
Pray without ceasing;
In everything give thanks;
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
I find in this passage a helpful call to service - joyful service, grateful service, gracious service, service to others, service for Jesus.
One of my prayers is that God might make me a joyful pastor, husband, Dad, friend, and neighbour. May my mind be full of gratitude. May I be filled with grace... and not bent on returning evil for evil. May the life of Christ which is mine forever, by His grace, free me to serve him happily as I help others run the race. Pray for me please as I seek God's grace to serve this way.