Each week as I prepare my sermon and go through the daily tasks of ministry I am surprised at how I can be surprised by the joyful interruptions. Perhaps it’s a person who drops by just to chat, or a person who ask me to join them for lunch. There are times when this can truly put me behind schedule. It would be easy to bemoan the fact that my plans were interrupted, but usually it turns out to be a deep blessing. I’m sure that all of you have experienced this familiar situation in your life.
Yesterday in worship we reflected on 2 Thessalonians 3:13 where the Apostle Paul admonishes the believers in the following way: “Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right.” I believe that it is easy for us to allow blessings to quickly become curses. In our society it is almost a given fact that we will be run ragged by our schedule. Daily work schedules have expanded from the formally standard eight hours, and our regions long commutes compound that reality. We are also those that want to enrich our lives, and our children’s lives with activities that build health and develop character.
Earlier this fall our family found itself in a situation where doing what was good, became extremely wearisome. Colin was going into first grade which meant he would be there for the full day. We also wanted to continue the progress he had made with summer swim lessons so we signed him up for another class. Soccer, which we thought was going to be free from weekday practices, ended up having a Tuesday practice and Sheila and I were coaching. He also began
a new afterschool program at a Taekwondo school.
When viewed as individual activities, it’s hard to argue that any of these are bad for a child’s development or enrichment. It didn’t take long to see that as a group these activities were actually having a detrimental effect on our family life. We found ourselves tired and our family dinners at home had become a thing of the past.
This is in many ways a deep issue of stewardship. Like our money, we are given only a certain amount of time and we need to use prudence and care when deciding what we will allow in our lives. I continually hope and pray that we at Christ Presbyterian Church are working towards making sure that our life together is not one that leads people to become weary with goodness. Like your financial gifts, your time has many demands on it. I believe that in the church we find many things that other activities cannot offer. Only in the Christian community do we have the life changing experience of Christ. This is something that our life is sustained through. As you experience every week, Christ Presbyterian is a dynamic and growing Christian community that is seeking to help offer that life changing Christ experience innumerous ways. To be part of these life changing experiences takes commitment and determination on the part of our members.
I pray that during this stewardship emphasis season you will not only take a look at how your monetary offerings reflect the blessings of God in your life, but that you will also take a deep look at how your use of time reflects the life changing reality of Christ.
OK – I’m having an intellectual moment. Here’s a thought – and while not usually a fan of the Message for direct answers, it can sometimes give a different “view” to think about. Example – for the above referenced vs. 13: “Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right” (Column A). The Message (Column B) has the following: “Friends, don’t slack off in doing your duty”. I get 2 totally different meanings from those. Column A reminds me of Isaiah 40:31 where those who wait on the Lord shall not be weary – ie. if we are doing what is right we will not be weary of it. Column B seems a fairly blunt reminder of how disobedient we are. I chose Column A.
Side note: for vs. 9 in that same reading….Column A says “This was not because we do not have that right, but in order to give you an example to imitate” while Column B says: “And it wasn’t because we didn’t have a right to your support; we did. We simply wanted to provide an example of diligence, hoping it would prove contagious. ” I chose Column B here. I’d rather be contagious than imitated. Contagions penetrate deeper than imitations.