Pastor Mary’s Musings
Luke 10:2 He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.
It is that time of year again! God, in his abundant provision, has seen to it that the fruits of the fields and the orchards and our gardens are beginning to ripen. All at once, it seems! And even though I myself planted rather haphazardly, nonetheless, I have found myself gathering in more tomatoes, squash and greens than I can eat while fresh. Additionally, I have been generously gifted with some excess from others’ fruit trees! So, not only must the food be harvested, it must be prepared and preserved so that it is available for the garden’s winter rest. So, in between laundry, family time, and on-going ministry, the canning pots have been bubbling, the dehydrator blowing, and the freezer freezing. We will be able to taste the Lord’s goodness all winter in my house, and still have some to share.
Well, it is no different in the church! The Lord is causing great things to grow and come to fruit right here at United Lutheran Church, and it might be so much as to feel overwhelming. Being heaped on our spiritual table are even grander ministry opportunities AND ideas for how to fund them. These ministry and funding ideas go beyond the generous and sacrificial offerings of our own church family, and will be inviting many others in the community to participate in the harvest for the sake of the Gospel and the future of those we serve.
I am so excited by all the potential we have for inviting others to “taste and see the goodness of God!” (Psalm 34:8) Yet, we all know that what some experience as exciting, others experience with anxiety. This is understandable. But it isn’t helpful to dwell on the fear. While excitement and urgency can spawn creativity and action, anxiety and fear have the opposite effect. They can shut down useful action and paralyze us spiritually, intellectually and practically. Sometimes, well-meaning comments inadvertently trigger fear. When this occurs, how do faithful Christians respond? A faithful response could come from of God’s own Word on the matter. We remember that part of the purpose of the fellowship of the believers is expressed in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians (5:11): to “encourage one another and build up each other.”
We can help do this by following Paul’s instructions to the Philippians: “Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”( 4:8) When we are caught up in what is true and pure and otherwise positive, we’ll be less likely to drown in a whirlpool of the negative. After all, as Paul reminds us in II Timothy, “God did not give us a Spirit of timidity, but of but rather a spirit of power and of love.”
The true key, of course, is not that we are focusing on “The Power of Positive Thinking,” but rather, we focus on the Source of our power: Jesus, whose Spirit is our gift in baptism. When we keep our eye on JESUS, when we ignore all voices but the Voice of our Shepherd, we cannot lose our way! And we will be provided with all we need to do what he calls us to do! And for this, we rejoice and give thanks!
In His Service,