Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Stick To It

It’s been a while since I’ve had opportunity to share (and I hear some of my friends at Hope Community are getting antsy).  I finally find myself with a few moments and something ‘share worthy’ on my mind.

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 ESV)

When we made our move to Florida, it was with a vision for an interconnected network of home based gatherings.  In that initial vision I determined that it would take six months for us to meet people in our community to be able to invite them to join with us.  As those of you who have followed these blogs may remember, the Lord connected us with two couples in the first month.  One could have made an assumption that within the six month time frame the group would have continued to grow- and it did in a sense with my parents joining in via internet from NH.  But as far as the number of folks around the table, we remain at the same number (mom has since moved down with us and dad will follow soon).

Sometimes there are family commitments which prevent us from being together.  Sadly, one sister lost her dad and needed time away to grieve.  People go on vacation.  Sometimes we ourselves are out of town and as I am currently the sole facilitator on those weeks there is no gathering.  In a group of twenty or more the absence of four or five people is certainly noticed but the meeting goes on.  In a gathering of seven, the same number missing brings the group to a halt.

As the establishing of the network was ‘my vision’ this challenge of consistency brings me a sense of discouragement and causes me to question whether it was in fact my vision rather than the Lord’s.  There is the temptation to, in Paul’s words above, “grow weary” and “give up”. 

All work poses its challenges and difficulties and no matter what field it is in, the work of every Christian is important and is to be done “as to the Lord” (Colossians 3:23).  Even so, we know that the output of the occupations we find ourselves in are temporary and will not last.  The roof put on by the Christian roofer will wear out.  The heart which the Christian doctor labors to save will eventually fail.  The funds kept track of by a Christian accountant will be spent.  I have been working to break into the Real Estate Photography business and while I do my best to present quality photographs, I know those houses will probably not even exist in 100 years.  

By contrast, those in formal Christian ministry are under the conviction that they labor for eternal things.  There is a sense of a higher degree of importance and therefore a greater level of discouragement when things go in directions or at tempos which are unexpected and unplanned.

But we cannot let that discouragement win.

Paul certainly experienced this trend to despair in his own life and must have sensed something in the Galatian churches.  In Galatians 6, he writes to urge the believers to continue on in loving one another (6:1-2), in growing spiritually (6:3-4) and in following the leading of the Holy Spirit to greater life (6:7-8). 

Perhaps they weren’t seeing any results, or the results were too slow.  Perhaps they were wondering if it was worth it.  So he tells them not to “grow weary of doing good”.  To ‘grow weary’ is a Greek word meaning ‘to despair of’ or ‘lose heart’ or ‘become discouraged’.  Christians are not to let such weariness enter in.  Our labor is worth it.  God is at work doing something which may or may not line up with our expectations and “in due season we will reap, if we do not give up”.  In this sentence to ‘give up’ means to ‘relax’ or to ‘release from’.  Paul tells the Galatians, do not ease up for at the proper time, that specific time fixed by God, there will be a parting of the clouds and they will see what the Lord is up to.

We’ve got to stick to it.  

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

May God richly bless you, beloved friends.