Today is the last day. After a year of being in Urbana, IL it is now time to leave. There is a whole range of emotions that I have been experiencing the last couple days, but today and tomorrow morning they will climax as my final hours (25 hours to be exact) in service here comes to a close.
Over the past year I have learned a number a lessons. I even learned a few things about myself. A few things immediately come to mind when I start reflecting on such things: organization, the importance of discipleship, finding volunteers, how a congregation operates in reality, and I learned that I am not quite as introverted as I thought I was just to name a few. But I will not spend much time in this post on these learning’s. Instead, I’d rather spend a little more time on contentment.
I was writing another post on contentment, but decided not to post it because it didn’t seem appropriate. But after having a brief discussion with Pastor yesterday I think maybe I can discuss this learning more clearly. A simple definition of contentment can be defined as being ok with the blessings that God has placed in our lives. It is 9th and 10th commandment stuff. Without getting too personal (even though I hinted at this already earlier in this post and in others) this past year has been one of the greatest blessed experiences and challenging on a spiritual and emotional level.
The question I have been asking has been “Is God’s blessing’s enough for our lives?” Are the blessings that you received from God enough for us to make it through the day? The answer is absolutely yes, but there were a number of times this year where I honestly questioned that. There were a number of times where I felt as though I did not have what I felt I needed from God. Anyone who has been a VBS director, I hope, would understand this! But he knows what we need. He is far wiser than I am. And it is only by his power that the things that I have and the things that I’d like to see done get done.
But sin makes it feel as though God is not blessing enough. I guess as Pastor and I discussed yesterday (and I am using a very broad brush here) we can always do more. We should recognize this. But there is no limit saying that we have to do a certain amount of things. We are called to work. And to persevere. To fight the good fight. God is the one who uses the good and bad things we do to forward his kingdom. He is the one with that power. Still there is that question that I ask myself, did I do enough? Did I work hard enough? What could I have done differently to get a better result? How dumb am I to think and ask these things?! For it is not me at work, but the Spirit at work through me. God is the one that get’s His work done. And with that assurance it is always enough. I can always go on one more visitation. Or plan just one more event. Or talk to one more person and witness to them. But it is still God that is the one who works and blesses such things.
There are even things in personal life that one can look at and not be content with what God has given. Sometimes that can lead to depression, anger, and fear as a result of this sin. But once again the good news is that God always gives us enough to make it through. He has certainly given us more than enough in Christ. What more do we really need? This is because in Christ there is hope. And because there is hope, we can persevere and not lose faith. In Christ, we can always be content because that is all we really need.
Yesterday, I and many others said goodbye to a friend who passed on in the faith. Anyone who knew him, knew that he did not complain about anything. He (at least showed) contentment in all things and at all times. And it was all because of his faith in Christ because Christ is all we really need.
So good-bye friend. And I will see you once again one day soon.