As I’ve done far too often, I was recently thinking about all those who have dropped out, moved on, or fallen by the wayside during the last year. Then, suddenly in the middle of all my morbid thoughts, God turned my thoughts upside down. I began to think about the other side of the coin– the additions, the success stories, the good rather than the bad. The difference is amazing! As someone said, “A smile is a frown turned upside down”– Well I have a smile on my face and joy in my heart as I write this.
2014 was an awesome year. Whatever bad or sad thing that you can think of, I can think of ten times as many good things. God has added some wonderful people to the church– people who are both able and willing to serve the Lord, who have the talent and are willing to take the time to minister to others. Meeting new people is one thing, making new friends is another, and we have been greatly blessed by the latter. I had no idea these people even existed until God brought them into my life.Thank You Lord!
It has also been a blessed experience watching others grow and seeing God use them. The good Lord has a way of surprising us by using people in ways we never imagined. Time and time again He has proven that He is able when we are willing. Seeing God work in them and through them has been a delight. What He has done in their lives gives me hope that He will do the same in others. Now I see untapped potential everywhere and I am encouraged to not give up on some that seemed hopeless.
And then there are those who have have been steadfast, unmoveable, and faithfully abounding in the work of the Lord. I’ve often referred to them as “the faithful few”, but their tribe keeps increasing. We now have numerous members who can be counted on. They are faithful in attendance, generous in giving, dedicated to duty, cheerful in their service, etc. They are the kind of members that every pastor prays for and the kind in which he knows he can depend on.
I don’t have the words to describe the delight these people have brought into my life. Their faithfulness enables me to do my job “with joy, and not with grief”(Heb. 13:17). If you are among those I have mentioned I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are a great blessing and I pray you will be richly blessed as we labor together in the up-coming year. I have determined that, with God’s help, I am not going to get discouraged by the things I can’t change or control. Rather than focus on the crosses and losses that bring the blues, I am counting my blessings by thinking about people God has put into my life. We had a great year and I have no reason to doubt that this year will be even better.