Just a Thought…

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  Hebrews 12:1-3

I’ve never ran a marathon, but I know it takes a lot of work (just ask Mary Lee!). Marathoners take months, even years, to train their bodies. That’s A LOT OF PRACTICE!  If you’ve never run long distances, if you’ve never walked, or biked, or jogged or swam athletically, if you’re overweight, sedentary, and can’t even walk up a flight a stairs without becoming breathless, then you aren’t ready to run a marathon.

But even the most out-of-shape people can move towards health. You might not be able to run out of your door and immediately complete the 26+ miles of a marathon, but you can start somewhere.  It takes getting up and doing something instead of sitting there and doing nothing.

That’s kind of like life, isn’t it? Sometimes when life is filled with difficulties, it’s easier to do nothing than to do something.  But this isn’t the healthiest of ways to respond. If I know I have poor eating habits, or that I come home after work and crash on the couch and yet do nothing to change the situation, then I will not move towards health.  And I definitely won’t run a marathon!  And if I’m spending beyond my financial means, or if my relationship with my spouse has been rocky, and yet do nothing to change the situation, then I will not move towards the abundant life Jesus desires for each of us.

Faith is the same.  Ministry is a marathon, not a sprint. We as baptized followers of Jesus are being trained for the long-haul.  It won’t always be easy.  In fact, if following Jesus comes easy to you, you’re probably not doing it right! It should sometimes feel like a marathoner experiencing the muscle pain as she pushes her body to be ready for the race.  Following Jesus should be like spiritual sweating… and sacrificing… and pushing yourself… and refocusing, so that you’re prepared to cross that finish line.

So how is your faith life?  What is getting in the way of your “running the race?”

Just a thought!

+pax et bonum


Just a Thought…

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV)

I remember one time when I was a redevelopment pastor in New Orleans, dreaming with some folks about God’s Vision for the church. Someone had a huge idea—one that would require a significant amount of time, resources, volunteers, advertising, support from local businesses, etc. And as she shared her idea, others began to shake their heads and murmur among themselves… “It’ll never work…,” “It’s too big an endeavor…,” “It’ll be too hard…,” etc.

And I remember getting frustrated by the limitations these folks were placing on us and on God’s church.  It made me wonder:  Do these people tell their children, “Learning to play baseball is too hard.  You will have to learn and practice and play games, and be yelled at by the coach.  You’ll make mistakes.  So, just don’t even try…”?   Do these people tell themselves, “College is too hard.  It’s too expensive, I’ll probably fail, and I won’t find a good job after I graduate.  So, I’m just not going to go”?

Of course not!  In fact, just the opposite.  Good parents teach their children that playing sports (or learning a musical instrument, or learning how to write or color or draw) can be fun and rewarding, but it won’t always be easy.  College will prepare you for adulthood and vocation, but chances are it will not be an easy experience.

I think it’s a copout for churches and church leaders to say that something is too hard, and that’s why we shouldn’t do it.  Difficulty should be measured, but it should not be the determining factor for whether we do the work that God is calling us to do.

So let’s not let the fear of something being hard keep us from daring to following Jesus, wherever he might lead us!

Just a thought!

+pax et bonum
pastor chris