A NEW YEAR (2017) WHILE LIFE GOES ON…
Richard C. Halverson penned these words while serving as Chaplain of the United States Senate (1981-1995). Let’s reflect on them:
“You can offer your ideas to others as bullets or as seeds. You can shoot them or sow them; hit people in the head with them, or plant them in their hearts. Ideas used as bullets will kill inspiration and neutralize motivation. Used as seeds, they take root, grow, and become reality in the life in which they are planted. The only risk in the seed approach: Once it grows and becomes part of those in whom it’s planted, you probably will get no credit for originating the idea. But if you’re willing to do without the credit, you’ll reap a rich harvest.”
The recently-completed 2016 year was a year of new things and challenges. We began the 2nd year of the Healthy Church Initiative (which continues through this fall), we successfully completed a financial pledge campaign, through hard work and generous giving, we will be able to pay out our apportionments without borrowing monies from established accounts, and we ministered to more folks in the Sulphur Springs/Hopkins County area through Backpack Buddies, “Be the Service” Thanksgiving baskets, CANHelp, Community Cupboard, Homebound Ministries, United Methodist Women, United Methodist Youth Fellowship, and our special Christmas Ever “The Christmas Story” presentation (among other ministries)! When a member sees only a part of Wesley UMC’s ministry from their Sunday school class, Chancel Choir, UMW, for example, it only seems to be small and not so “outreaching.” However, when we consider everything we are about at Wesley, our arms reach out a great distance: in our community, our East District, our North Texas Annual Conference, and the entire global United Methodist Church! So, “together we can” do so much for the glory of God and for God’s Kingdom (which knows no borders). As your pastor, I want to say thank you for being a part of this going and growing ministry through Wesley United Methodist Church. As Chaplain Halverson noted: We can offer our ideas (ministries) as bullets or seeds. I encourage us to remember the words of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthian Church in I Corinthians 3:6-7:
“I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God gives the growth.”
Perhaps in this year, 2017, we’ll remember this as we do ministry together. We’ll have moments when we’ll “rejoice with those who rejoice,” as well as ones where “we’ll weep with those who weep.” Life has a way of moving on even when we’re not ready to move on. I’ve been there. You’ve been there. We’ve all been there. It feels like we’re stuck, yet time moves on, so life moves on. It may not be life as we once knew or experienced it. Yet one thing I’ve learned from my 65+ years on this earth: It (life) goes on.
So then, each of us are presented with choices almost each house, much less each day we live. How we choose to live is our (your) choice. I found the following words worth a thought as we start this new year. The author is not known, but the words are wisely said:
“We are most like beasts when we kill. We are most like men when we judge. We are most like God when we forgive.”
In the spirit of those words, I share a new prayer shared with me by a new friend I have made in 2016:
“Dear Lord Jesus Christ, forgive me from my sin so You can hear my prayer.” Wesley folk, keep on keeping on. May we sow the Word of God in every heart we meet. May we water that seed in those same hearts. May we be prepared to give God the credit for all that we try our best to do in 2017. May the joy of the Lord be our strength in all that we do. May the Grace of God saturate each of our lives so that “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Amen.