Of course, I don’t remember this moment. Nevertheless, this picture means a lot to me. At that moment my parents were a young couple who had moved to a big city with their two year old. Little did they know of the twists and turns their lives would take. Nor could they have imagined what life would be like for their toddler.
Years later, a variety of experiences would shape and form my life and forever impact me.
I would enter kindergarten. Mrs. Rich was my teacher. I would come away from that experience with good memories.
Just a few years later, I would have a brother and sister. I would live with my family of origin, go to college and then eventually leave and marry.
I would have moments of joy and also moments when I felt utterly defeated.
I would learn the story of God’s love. I would be baptized. I would continue to grow in my faith as a part of a church community.
Years later, I would marry Charlotte and we would have two children, Christine and Jamie. We would spend much of our lives in Alabama, Missouri, and Texas.
Now, here we are with two grandchildren, two sons-in-law, and many great memories of the places where we have lived.
I never would have dreamed, even a few years ago, that we would live in Memphis and that I would be working with Harding School of Theology.
Why mention this?
As, Christian leaders we often do not see the results of our work. In fact, any believer who takes seriously what it means to be salt, leaven, and light will often not see tangible, visible results. Nevertheless, we continue to serve and live for others believing that God will bless these efforts. We are called to live and serve by faith. Otherwise we might believe that our ministries are fruitless and barren.
Years ago, I was driving home one night from a very discouraging elders’ meeting. I had just pulled out of the church parking lot and soon came to a red light.
“What’s the use!”
That wasn’t the first or the last time that I thought or spoke those words. However, even in times of frustration, I have learned to never underestimate the good that God does in spite of the way things may look at the moment.
Churches are sometimes like that two year old boy in the picture. As a church leader, you may not be around to see the results come about. In fact, God may do a very significant work in the life of that congregation long after your personal ministry with them is completed.
Christian ministry is about God being at work, often in ways that we will not see or understand. God is faithful. Let that encourage you to keep working and serving.