I just began my fourteenth year with the church I work with. I’m not new anymore. Certainly not to these people in the church I serve.
I was here yesterday.
I am here today.
I will probably be here tomorrow–by the grace of God.
Yet, things do not stay the same. Culture changes. The community in which we live changes. People change. Children are born. They grow up. They die. Some people continue to grow to become Christlike. These people are not the same people they used to be. You can see more of Jesus in them. Christ is making such a difference in who they are as men and women.
Other people change as well. Some live for a while and then crash and burn. Usually, it’s not very pretty. They yield to temptation or just allow their own fleshly lusts to take over. As a result, families are sometimes destroyed and children are scarred. Meanwhile, mom or dad have pursued their own "happiness." This mom or dad will do anything–anything–in order to get what he or she wants. I have seen this occur repeatedly through the years. The fallout will come. Just stick around.
Meanwhile, I want to mention some people I have learned to admire after being with one church for thirteen years.
- I admire people who live with pain (whether physical or emotional) and who get up every morning just trying to deal with life today.
- I admire people who continue to grow. Christ is becoming more real to them each year. These people are really alive and want to experience all that Christ offers.
- I admire people who have experienced a lot of failure in their lives and yet keep walking with Jesus. Maybe they have made some very poor choices in the past. Yet, they’ve not given up.
- I admire people who are ready to help instead of just complain. Whining and complaining has a way of draining the energy out of a community of believers.
- I admire people who name the "pink elephants" in the room. They don’t spend years silently ignoring the elephant that is so obvious to others. Far too often, people just step around them and will not acknowlege the problem.
- I admire people who don’t require a lot of attention or maintenance. They simply serve the Lord and love people.
- I admire people who are always looking out for others. Far too often, the cry from the immature is, "What about me?" Meanwhile, those who are maturing in Christ are constantly looking out for others in the body. One particular worship style or assembly may not really suit that person, but he recognizes that it does speak to many others. And, he deeply cares about them.
- I admire people who are encouragers. These people are forever building others up. They point out what is good and right. I am so grateful for these people in my life. I am a better person because of their presence.
- I admire people who are steady. They support the work of the church with their time and with their money. They are with the community of believers during the highs and during the lows.
- I admire people who are faithful in prayer. I am so thankful to people I know who are praying for me. I am thankful for people who are faithful intercessors. You can count on these people to pray for others.
Today, I am thankful to God for these people.