What I Saw – October 31, 2019

Today’s memory work had me in 1 Timothy.  It is a book I learned almost 20 years ago and have been reciting every since.  As I recited it this morning, I stopped at this statement in 1:12:

Picture1

I suppose the reason this caught my attention is I was still thinking about yesterday’s revelation.  I was still contemplating the fact that ministry inevitably brings rejection, that painful rejection is the cost of doing ministry.  It is a fact I’ve come to terms with (as I described yesterday) but not one I’ve come to enjoy; I can deal with this but I don’t think I can embrace it.

Yet here was Paul saying he thanked Jesus for appointing him into His service.  Here was Paul saying He was grateful God brought him into ministry.  Paul was rejected because of the ministry he did; his authority was questioned and his teaching ability was criticized and his sincerity was challenged by those both inside and outside the church (see Acts 17:18 and 2 Corinthians 10:10 for just two of many examples of this).  Not only so, but Paul was beaten and imprisoned and subjected to all sorts of sufferings because of the ministry he did (see 2 Corinthians 6:4-10 and 11:23-33 for a partial record of Paul’s sufferings).  Paul was ultimately martyred because of his ministry (see 2 Timothy 4:6, or watch the following clip which I was shown as a child and which has always inspired me.)

Paul experienced some of the unpleasant things I have experienced in ministry, albeit to a greatly enhanced degree, and he experienced other, even more unpleasant things in ministry that I hope to never experience.  Yet he was thankful to be involved in that ministry.  I’m not sure he was thankful for the unpleasant things themselves;  I wouldn’t be offended if he wasn’t as not appreciating such things/wanting to avoid such things is normal but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was as he saw life and the Kingdom economy so much better than I did.  But he was thankful for the ministry which included these things.  He was thankful that he had been included in the ministry whose price was these things.

And I can likewise be thankful for being included in that ministry as well.  I am, in fact.  I wasn’t hating ministry as I read these Scriptures this morning.  I’m not sure I’ve ever hated ministry or even seriously considered leaving it.  Nonetheless, I was challenged by Pauls’ good attitude toward ministry, sufferings and all.  I was encouraged to be even more thankful for being included in ministry than I already am and to be more willing to accept the negative costs of doing that ministry in a better spirit.

And that’s what I saw on October 31, 2019.

Some Thanksgiving Thoughts

 

I really hope you’re not reading this on Thanksgiving Day.  I hope you are far too busy with friends and family and food to be looking at blogs.  But just in case you are, let me give you a few Thanksgiving thoughts.

The first comes from a book about Thanksgiving by Melanie Kirkpatrick.

Image result for thanksgiving melanie kirkpatrick

In that book, she describes how some pastors disliked the scheduling of football games on Thanksgiving Day.  These pastors believed the games took away from the church services being held that day.  A rabbi chimed into this debate, saying this:

2

Yeah, I’m a football fan, too, and I will be watching portions of all three games being played, so I definitely see things the way the rabbi does (and I agree with his portrayal of God and what a good God enjoys).

But I will be giving thanks on the day as well.  That is nothing new for me; I thank God every day for dozens of blessings.  But I do give special thanks on this day.  There are many Scriptures which fuel this thanks, of course, but there are several songs that do so as well.  I wanted to share a few of those with you:

 

There are a dozen or so others, all of them special to me at this time of year.  I hope you enjoy a few of those if you have the time.  I also hope you eat well, as I said earlier, and that you are well-loved and love well.  I hope you look up to heaven at some time between the gridiron and the table.  And I really do hope you have a happy Thanksgiving!

Image result for happy thanksgiving