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. I Corinthians 15:58
This is one of my favorite verses. It helps me keep a long-term perspective. If you’re in the ministry or dealing with people you know change is not easy. It takes time. It takes work. It takes accountability. It requires patience.
You probably heard the story of why ministers like to cut grass. They get to see immediate results. You can look back and see what you have accomplished. With people it is not that easy.
One of the benefits though of being in a place for a long period of time is seeing lives change. I met with a man this week who has been married for 20 years. I knew him before he was married, and was able to give him some wise counsel before he tied the knot. I attended a dear friend’s daughter’s wedding a month ago. He had asked us to pray about whether to have that fourth child over 25 years ago. I was able to participate in a funeral for a man for whom his family has prayed for him well over 50 years. He trusted Christ within a week of his death.
We are studying a book on Friday morning called Learning the Virtues that Lead you to God, by Romano Guardini. Guess what – there is a chapter on patience. The author talks about not only having patience with others, but also having patience with ourselves. “Change is slow work, extremely slow. And this very slowness guarantees that the change is taking place not in our fancy, but in reality. Patience demands strength – great strength.”
We live in tension: who we want to be and who we are, what we want to accomplish and what we have done so far. There is also tension with people we love – we wish they would make changes, but they don’t see the urgency. I am so glad the Holy Spirit is patient with me and I beseech Him to help me be so with others and myself.
We just finished a fabulous banquet with Ed Kobel. He was very open about his life and shared his deep relationship with the Lord. It is evident he seeks God in his business dealings and in everything he does. We are following up over 40 requests to be in a study or in a mentoring relationship because of his talk.
Please pray that we can get in touch with these men quickly and get them into a small group or a one on one relationship that will further their growth in Christ. Pray as well for our Sporting Clays shoot March 17.
Thank you for being such a vital part of this ministry. I am grateful for you, for the lives that have been affected by the gospel, and the people that are being reached. I am also encouraged by what God is doing in WBL’s monthly meetings, and their 4 location Bible studies.
This was the prayer at the end of the chapter on patience. “Lord, have patience with me, and give me patience so the possibilities created to me may, in the short span of my lifetime, those brief years, grow and bear fruit!” Amen!
In our Lord,