Mark 10:40 (click to read the text)
:… for whom it has been prepared.”
Finding the Work of God that lies before you… is first about finding the work of God within you. Growing up, all I wanted to be was an oceanographer. Since then, I have discovered a greater truth in me: I am a Servant of Christ, and it is as a pastor that I sail through the mysteries and structures of God’s goodness.
James and John seem to be caught up in the excitement of their faith. Surely Jesus will sit at the right hand of God in the Kingdom. This is an exciting thing, and for them, at this moment, it is also a chance to further their own sense of ambition. Occasionally you can run into ambition in the church. In a small church were the Pastor is a big fish in a small pond, or in a mega church were the world seems to be drawn to a charismatic leader. It surely is natural to want glory and honor and recognition. But this is not what Jesus does with his gifts or work and when we are well grounded in our faith it is not what comes out of our hearts and actions.
The real Glory of God, and our true and best honor, is being exactly who we were created to be and accepting the invitation to excel at that gift with all humble determination. When I was young, all I wanted to be was an Oceanographer. To study the depths and currents and mystery of our global waters really fueled all my passion and curiosity.
The thing is, that is not where God’s working and calling and invitation has brought me.
So now, I explore my avocation in and around my Sailing, but I express my acceptance of God’s activity in my life in my call to ministry. It is what has brought me to you, and Shannon and Sara. For all of these I humbly thank God for the Glory of God’s abundantly perfect ways.
Where do you go for…?
When I moved to this great State, I learned quickly where lots of things were. Learning where to go for what – is sometimes a challenge. Do you know where to go to have your car licensed in the State of Maryland (boy that is an adventure). Do you know where to go for a Marriage License? How about for food that is affordable for your food budget? Where do you go if you don’t have much money for food?
More personally, where do you go for a listening ear? Where do you go for grace and mercy when you need those? Hebrews talks about the Throne of Grace that we can approach boldly. How do approach the Throne of Grace?
Here are some options, though be aware that some of them take a little practice and forethought:
- Sacrament of Baptism
- The Meal of Holy Communion
- The Scriptures
- The Pastor
- Another Brother or Sister in Christ
While you are thinking of all these, please don’t forget that for someone else, YOU just might be the “Throne of Grace” that they need for drawing near to God (who is ready to touch their life with Grace and Mercy). Please be ready to dispense this important gift of God to those who come to you. They may not know where else to go!
Pastor Mitch Watney
I was dreaming the other day, about the kind of hurdles I have faced in my life; education was easier than finding my place in the church, what I wanted to do was easier than where was the right place for me to do it. As I reflected upon the questions that have been my journey in life, I began to wonder about the questions that my daughter Sara will face. What will be her hurdles and how can I be a gift to her as she faces them?
These were on my mind as I read the Gospel for this Sunday (Mk 10:17-31) about the young man who approached Jesus and asked what He must do to inherit eternal life? Jesus pointed him to the commandments that are for us all to keep and the young man said with great eagerness, “All these I have kept since my youth.”
In that moment Jesus sees his real heart and invites the young man to come and follow him (to be his disciple), but first to let go of the things that might stop him or get in his way (the real question to “What must I do to inherit eternal life!”) This seems to be about the hurdles in life that are this young man’s own personal hurdles. It shows, perhaps, that Jesus perceived the young man correctly, because this invitation proved too much. Indeed it did prove to be a hurdle for him at this point in his life. His possessions really could stand in his way to following Jesus and perhaps to receiving eternal life.
What, in our own hearts, would keep us from taking the invitation to follow Jesus? That is the real questions. Even the disciples of Jesus begin to think about all that they have left in order to be followers of Jesus. Certainly, each of them had their own hurdles in faith and in life. It occurs to me that Jesus himself is certainly a great resource and aid in hearing, learning and discerning the hurdles that get in our way to following and receiving eternal life. I for one hope to be quick to come and ask about the nature of my hurdles, that with Jesus help, I may face and over come.
As we head toward Sara’s Baptism, I know we are seeking that same support and guidance for her, in facing her hurdles in life and in faith. Thanks be to God who gives us the victory in Jesus. AMEN!
I remember quite vividly when I began my conscious journey in Christ, I felt all alone in it. It was like it was up to me to find my way all on my own. Not long after that I found others who were also journeying in Christ. Many of those conversations were filled with encouragement and discovery for me.
Since then, I have also had other moments when I was sure I was all alone in my faith journey. Seems like in the times I have felt those feelings the strongest, right then, God brings another “conversation” or another friend to encourage me along in my journey.
Now Days, especially as I look back over my years of journeying in faith, I really couldn’t have been all alone, because always when I need it, the next person or encouragement comes along. Perhaps that is one of the ways God taps us on the shoulder, as if to say, “I’m walking with you and planning the journey ahead.”
Oh Lord, teach me about this journeying in faith. Help my find in the mentors and partners who bring along the way your sustaining presence. In every relationship I have, allow me also to give your welcome and peace.
May you find Christ in Community,