Birthdays are interesting days. Today I turned 48. In reality, I realize that I have lived well over half my life. It therefore becomes a day of reflection. What have I accomplished thus far in my life? What do I hope to accomplish in the years I have left?
Well, first things first. What have I accomplished? Athletically, I was a pretty good baseball player, even getting to pitch throughout my college years. I even was a pretty good hitter (actually batting .543 as a 15 year old). Academically, I was able to graduate from college with double majors in Christian Education and Bible and most recently earning my MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary. As a Youth Minister and Preacher I have been able to see people come to the Lord and both churches and youth groups grow. I have also seen how shallow much of what I accomplished actually was. I simply was too immature to give God the glory—“I” was why all the good things happened! Good grief! As I look back on those days, I have to cringe at my attitude toward the things that God was accomplishing, not through me, but in spite of me.
So, where does that leave me? I am privileged to serve God in a beautiful area of New Jersey. I am blessed with a congregation that is ready to “make a difference” for God. So, for the rest of my life, I have one and only one goal; to be faithful in what God has called me to be and to do. I will study to give sermons and Bible Studies that are both Biblical and appropriate. I will comfort the hurting, lift up the fallen, and help those who need help. But most of all, I will leave the results up to God. I have relinquished my role as master of my own destiny and that of my congregation. I will be faithful, and leave the results to God. Will it be easy? Well, I wish I could say with all certainty, yes, but that would be untrue. We live in a society that judges us by results. Are there more people in worship? Is the offering growing? Is the congregation more respected in the community? These are the questions that many feel show that the pastor is “effective.”
So, for me, it will be hard to live what I believe. I must continue to battle my desire for “results” and simply be faithful and leave the results to God. After all, He is the one that is in control.