As I leave, I cannot help but envision…
A Picture of Completion (Philippians 1:9-10) 9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Abound more and more, the implication is utterly undeniable, we all as human beings have a tendency to become comfortable instead of growing to completion. Listen to what Paul gets across; it is only as you continue to grow that you can continue to be on guard! When you stop the process of doing the work God has for you or the work God wants to do in you, the risk increases of missing out on the very purpose of your creation.
A group of tourists visiting a picturesque village walked by an old man sitting beside a fence. In a rather patronizing way, one tourist asked him, “Were any great men born in this village?”
The old man replied, “Nope, only babies.”
Every person who is a born-again believer starts life as a baby in Christ. Whether the new convert is six or sixty, that person is still a new Christian and needs to grow in the Lord. A baby Christian who has been saved for forty years is a tragedy. God intends for us to grow and mature so that we can be a positive influence in the lives of others. Until we learn to dig into the meat of the Word for ourselves, we will never grow.
When we ask people to come to a church, the church needs to be ready to accept them. Those who are mature in the faith need to step up and walk alongside those who are young. The longer you’ve served isn’t a sign you should retire, but should reinvest. If you’ve served for 5 minutes, 5 years or 50 years, praise God that he has given you the time to grow, and more to keep growing!
Don’t accept the status quo as victory; allow your methods to consistently change as you share the consistent and unchanging message. Take advantage of opportunities for growth. Don’t just let them pass you by, as an inconvenience or some extra part of what it means to be a Christian, when it is an absolute essential. Just coming and hearing sermons is not a success.
Pastors will come and go, because ministry like life itself only offers interim positions. Your direction and destiny doesn’t rest on man’s vision, or a pastor’s prerogative, but in Christ’s mission. When the mission becomes foremost in your life—he allows us to get the most out of life. Thank you for 3 ½ wonderful years of ministry, partnership, and growth. May God continue to bless you and keep you, make his face shine upon you and be gracious. As Lincoln finished, so do I today, “To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”