Tag: maturity

Packing lunches in the dark

Every morning before the house wakes up, I make my son’s lunch. I pack it in the lunch box, fill up his water bottle, zip it away in his bag, and hang it up on the hook.

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He doesn’t even realize I’ve packed it. He doesn’t ask if it’s done, doesn’t check my work, and doesn’t ask what it is. No thanks, no “you’re the best, dad!” He just eats it at his appointed lunch time at school. No thoughts about why dad packed ham today instead of turkey, or why the crackers were a little stale. He just eats.

The quicker, the better, since he gets to play on the playground when he’s done.

I love that I get to do this for him.

This is a picture of God’s relationship with us. I wonder how many things God does for us that we don’t even notice. He does so much for us that we never realize, and that we don’t, or can’t, control. He causes the rain to fall and water the earth. The sun rises and falls every day. He even causes the very molecules of our bodies to hold together (Colossians 1:17).

He causes relationships to hold together (or not). Our finances to hold together (or not). He causes the earth to grow plants…which, in a way is kind of like making our lunch. 😃

Think about the thousands upon thousands of chain reactions that happened to bring you to the very spot you find yourself right now. Think of the failed ideas, the interviews you passed, the car crashes you avoided, the relationships you’ve had, the pain you’ve walked through…all leading to this moment.

When I was a child, I didn’t realize this. I’m sure my parents, or someone along the way, pointed it out to me, that God controls everything. But I didn’t pay much attention to these things…I just went on about my life.

As I’ve grown in my faith, I begin to take stock of the ways God provides for me and my family. I notice what He does day in and day out that provides safety and security. My heart shifts toward Him as I count the too-many-to-count ways He gives me more than I deserve. Even when things don’t go my way, I trust God knows what He’s doing. Seeing the goodness of God in action deepens my love for Him.

Becoming more aware of our surroundings is a sign of maturity in life. My son, who’s 8, has a greater understanding of how the world works than my 3 year old. And I’d like to think I understand more than either of my children. I’ve matured, and I’m more cognizant of the way things work. As my son gets older, I hope he begins to realize the lunch-packing I do. Not because I want credit, but because becoming aware is a sign of maturity.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Paul, Romans 8:28

Do you know what the original Greek word for “all” means?

It means “all.” In all things God’s working for our good. In all things He’s at work. He’s not sitting back wondering what’s going to happen. He’s in the very middle of everything because He’s lovingly working all things. From the big happenings in your life to the tiniest breath, God knows what He’s doing. And every moment is shaping who you are and who God intends you to become.

Time to grow up. Time to see who’s really packing our lunch.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. – 1 Corinthians 13:11-12

 

7 Truths a Pastor Wishes They Could Say

You may have caught my 5 Things a Pastor Should Never Say or my 7 Phrases a Pastor Should Say Regularly Off-Stage or even my 5 Things You Should Be Careful Saying to Your Pastor.

image via Creation Swap user Daniel Romero

Today, I want to give a voice to the pastors who often feel trapped, and can’t say what they really want to say. 

Not all pastors are in this boat. Some are riding the waves of freedom, able to speak wisdom freely. I’m thankful to be serving in a local church that gives incredible amounts of freedom.

Others, though, are trapped. Given the opportunity, here’s what they’d say.

7 Truths a Pastor Wishes They Could Say

1. This week has worn me out.

There’s a reason why there’s a distinct calling into full-time vocational ministry. It’s exhausting, often unrewarding, and will ultimately cost you your life. The work of a pastor leaves them worn out emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Pastors would like to tell you they’re worn out, but they can’t because you expect too much of them.

2. I need help.

Pastors are real people with real families with real struggles. Sometimes they need physical help in leading. Other times they need financial help. Sometimes they need counseling help with their lives. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness…it’s a sign of wisdom. (Re: Galatians 6:1-3)

Pastors would like to ask for help, but they know that if they do, their job will be in jeopardy.

3. Quit making everything about you.

It’s easy to unload all of your junk on your pastor. And at one level, that’s incredibly healthy. Your pastor is equipped to help minister the Gospel into your specific situation. But when your every conversation revolves around you, your problems, your opportunities, and your struggles, you leave little room for your pastor to build real relationships. Good friends don’t just call you when they need something.

Pastors would like to build real friendship with you, but they can’t because everything is always about you.

4. I have no interest in doing a cantata.

No explanation needed here. If a cantata is being done, this statement is running through your pastor’s head. 🙂

5. I can’t fix everything in your life.

Pastors are often seen as a cure-all. Pastors have all of the right answers, they know just that *perfect* verse, and they can pray the *perfect* prayer that will quickly and seamlessly fix the problem that you’ve been struggling with for decades. It’s not your pastor’s job to fix you. That’s a role that the Holy Spirit reserves for Himself.

Pastors would like to tell you this, but you won’t work out your own faith with fear and trembling. (Re: Philippians 2:12-13)

6. Grow up.

At some point in your natural development, you started feeding yourself, clothing yourself, bathing yourself, and fending for yourself. Spiritually, this has got to happen, too. Sure, your pastor has a role to play there. But taking ownership of your own spiritual growth has to happen.

Pastors would like to tell you this, but you need to grow up before you’ll listen.

7. The end goal of Christianity isn’t to get someone to come into a church building. It’s for someone to build a relationship with the living God.

Bringing someone to church with you is often a phenomenal step of faith. But that should never be the end goal. Never. That also shouldn’t be your primary means of introducing people to God. Evangelism happens best in the context of relationships. 

Pastors would like to say this, but when the primary focus is on numbers (whether they’re decreasing or increasing), they don’t have the freedom to.

Question:

Can you think of anything else a pastor wishes they could say?

* image credit: Creation Swap User Daniel Romero

 

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