May’s Pastoral To The Parish

Dear Friends,

What follows is a devotional I gave at the April Vestry. I feel that I should share this with you all.

I have told some of you before that there was a lawyer in Georgetown SC who won a huge case and with his share of the settlement, that was in the millions of dollars he bought a yacht and he named it “Never Enough”.

I tell you this story because of Paul’s words in Philippians 4:

I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. 13 I am able to do all things through Him[a] who strengthens me.

I felt this was a word for us as a church.

We need to be content in who we are in God AND in what God has called us to be. It can be very easy for a church to constantly keep striving to become bigger and better and more impressive. The problem is that sometimes this becomes an obsession that takes up all the energy and focus.

We are Anglican in tradition. We are liturgical in our worship. We aim to be scriptural in our teaching. And we strive to love one another.

We need to understand that not everyone will want to come to our church. Not every visitor will be led to stay with us. That is OK. We are not trying to ‘attract’ people. We are hoping to be a community which worships the Lord in spirit and in truth and seeks to live out our faith in our neighborhoods and work places.

Now, this is not to say we don’t want to grow – yes we do – but we want to grow in God’s timing and in by His grace. We want our growth to be sustained, long term and fruit bearing.

Being content with who we are and what we are in Christ means that instead of coming to church on a Sunday and lamenting what we are lacking or do not have that, which takes our focus off of the Lord, we can come excited to worship and enjoy the Lord’s presence and enjoy each others fellowship.

Someone once said that you should never welcome someone at the door looking over their shoulder seeing who else is coming. Instead we rejoice in  those God has given us and we joyfully minister to them endeavoring to do everything in the strength of the Lord. And when we do that, I believe the Lord will steadily and gradually supply our needs and bless our ministries.

Our job is not to maintain or promote Christ the Saviour but to maintain and promote the gospel message.

It is not our plans that matter, but the Lord’s plans.  We are His servants here and He can do as He pleases with us. Our hearts need to say “Not my will but your will be done”.

Abraham was given a magnificent promise by God, and Hebrews 6:13-20 tells us that Abraham waited patiently for this promise. He waited patiently because he knew that God’s promises are unbreakable – and therefore they will come to pass. ALWAYS!

V19 of Hebrews 6 says 19 We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure.

Paul says in Phil 1:6  I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you[a] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. We know he will because as the author to the Hebrews tells us, it is impossible for God to lie and Jesus has shown us the way – he has gone before us.

As a Church we are to seize the hope set before us – the work of Christ and the promise of the Gospel – and when we do this we will realize that this hope is our stabilizing anchor –  it keeps us close to Jesus, safe and secure – and content; content in Christ and content serving Christ.

Let me close with these from the Apostle Paul:

Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 

With my love and prayers!

 

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