Scatterbrained Contentment

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.

Good Bye Sour Cream – Rejoice!

There are many things that I absolutely hate. One of them is sour cream. If I take a bite of sour cream it makes me gag and I will inevitably spit it back out. It does not matter if it is mixed in well in a dish, I will taste it and more than likely spit it out. I absolutely hate sour cream.

But the other thing that I hate more than sour cream is good byes. Especially when it’s toward people who you care about. And the thing with good byes is that it is truly a good-bye, not see you later because when someone leaves they are not able to be there through thick and thin, through the good and the bad. It is good-bye so that others can move on and make connections with others that are there immediately around them. This does not mean that you stop caring or do not talk every once in a while, but it is a recognition that the relationship that you once had with that person is not the same as it was before.

Over the past week and during this coming week I am going to say good bye to many people who I truly care about. My time on my internship is coming to a quick close. I have gotten an amazing opportunity to meet a number of great people both where I served and out in the community. However, it is time to start saying good byes even though it is something that I would normally try to avoid doing like eating sour cream.

But at the same time there is an exciting future ahead for all of us. I know for myself, the next year is going to raise a number of questions. I am expecting that within the next two or three weeks many, if not all, of those questions that I have will be answered. And as for those who I leave this week can also take assurance in God’s promise in that He knows what it is that they need. ” “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?…So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6).

Therefore, “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). There is a bright future for those who have put their trust and confidence in Christ Jesus. He is indeed coming again to take those who have been saved through him, by faith, to be with him for all eternity where we will no longer have to say good-bye or farewell, but where we get to live together forever. And hopefully with no sour cream!