I wish to say a word to all those who labor for the Lord for the advancement of His Kingdom and the furthering of the Gospel:
“As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.” 2 Thessalonians 3:13
We have been called to take part in God’s redemptive work on earth! That is both a great privilege and a great responsibility. The task can seem overwhelming at times, especially when we start to think that everything rests on our shoulders. But things do not rest on our shoulders. God is still sovereign. He can accomplish His will without us, but He chooses to let us take part in it! What a great gift that is! We get to be co-laborers with Christ!
It is easy for us to lose sight of this though. We easily get caught up in our tasks, in attendance, in the outcomes of what we do. We lose sight of Who we serve as we focus on what we’re doing for Him. It is my hope that I, and those who labor with me would be able to keep our focus. I pray that we would be able to fulfill our calling well. I pray that we would realize the joy of our Master when we do our jobs well. Even when we do not see the fruits of our labor, I pray we will know it was all worth while.
In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul writes to the church about the issue of resurrection. He addresses multiple facets of this and concludes this section connecting resurrection with the end of all things when “the perishable puts on the imperishable” (v.54) and when it comes to pass that “death is swallowed up in victory” (v.54) We are told that victory (over death and sin) comes through Jesus Christ. Paul then closes this section with this encouragement: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (v.58)
Praise God that we can know “that in the Lord [our] labor is not in vain.” I know this has been a great encouragement to me when I have not seen the fruit of my labor and when I have labored so hard to proclaim the Lord and His love. There are times in any ministry when things don’t seem to be going well and when all our efforts are for nought. Even in these times, God is working. Many times God works in the background doing things we could never even imagine. In the end, we need to be obedient to do the things God has commanded us to do and trust that our labor is not in vain. We have been told in Scripture that it is not in vain. The question is: Do you believe it?
The close of summer brings yet another of life’s many transitions. Transitions happen all the time, from one stage of life to another, one school year to the next, moving from place to place, laying down old dreams and creating new ones. Sometimes these transitions happen one at a time, but multiple transitions can occur at once at well. Some are easier than others but they all have one thing in common: God is sovereign over them all.
If there’s one thing I’ve been learning this summer and throughout the past year it is that God truly is in control. He is sovereign and He is with us in whatever we go through. That is why I can face the transitions, changes, hardships, and joys of life with confidence. No, I may not know what the future holds or what I plan on doing down the road, but I know the one who holds the future in His hands. I can trust that God knows what He is doing with me and my life. I know that He has created me the way He has for a reason and that He has a specific work for me to do which He has prepared in advance. I know this to be true for you as well. Our great God, who created you, has a plan and a work for you to do. We can trust in this and trust that He is good and knows what He is doing.
Transitions may not be easy or comfortable. They may be the exact opposite. But when it comes right down to it, it is a question of whether or not we trust God with the outcome. Trust is hard because it requires letting go of control and believing God. I know that letting go of control is particularly difficult, but it is so worth it.
Transitions also have a tendency to require leaving groups of people we care for and love dearly. It is hard to say goodbyes even if we are going to another place with people we care for and love. This becomes an opportunity to entrust people to the God whom we serve. He has a plan for their life as well as ours. Not that this makes leaving less painful. The older I become, the more bittersweet saying goodbye becomes. That said, distance or life circumstances do not dictate the level of care and love between people. If others are like me, I think about so many people whom I love and thank God for on a daily basis that I rarely communicate with. Silence is not necessarily an indicator of a lack of care. This realization radically changed the way I think. I know that when I leave the home, friends, and church family I’ve been blessed by this summer that I will remain in their thoughts and prayers and they will remain in mine. And so it goes with any place I’ve ever called home. This is one of the beautiful things about being a member of the Body of Christ: wherever we are we are united with the bonds of Christ.
To those who have ever been part of anywhere I’ve ever called “home”, I thank God for you. Know that you are loved and that I think about and pray for you.
As I embrace this next transition in my life, I look forward to all that will come my way. I am focusing my gaze on Jesus and seeking to glorify the One who has redeemed me.
I finally decided to begin a blog so that I can share some of the things God has been teaching me with friends and strangers alike if they find their way here. I have been reminded recently of some of the gifts which God has given me and feel like this is one way I can use at least one of those gifts with others. I also figured this may be a good way for people who want to know a bit of what’s going on in my life to catch a glimpse of it. I do not expect to post on here every day or very frequently, but who knows? Perhaps this will become something I use on a regular basis.
To those who want to read this, thank you. I hope to get something more substantial on here soon.
In the meantime, blessings to you all. I pray you seek the face of God and seek Him in His word.