The process to become a Pastor in the United Methodist Church is long, and at times arduous. I want to thank you for welcoming Keri last Sunday to preach. I would say that she has just begun, but that would be false - she began long, long ago to walk this path. Will Newton, our Director of Worship, is also on this same journey, and I myself am not quite finished. Each step, from contacting our District Superintendant, to going to seminary, to writing paperwork, recording sermons, and being interviewed by boards... it is a process that takes time and effort and one that many give up on when they feel like it will never end, and isn't happening fast enough. So again, I thank you for supporting her and encouraging her as she came and shared with us.
Think about your own future for a moment. Have you taken time to ask God for direction? Have you prayed that God's will be done in and through your life? You may not be called to serve as a pastor (or maybe you are!) but I sincerely believe that God calls each of us to follow and serve in some way. We have to be listening and open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
However, sometimes, we do listen, and feel like God has placed a particular goal on our hearts, only to have that dream taken away. Maybe we think that we are destined to become an athlete and then injury takes that future away. Or we pursue a career only to be told we do not have what it takes. Or we do follow the path that we felt called toward, only to find the path full of pain and hardship.
When we are unable to reach the goals in our life, particularly the goals that we feel God has set before us, it can be devastating. We should always remember that it is not in reaching a destination that we find God's call on our lives fulfilled... the JOURNEY is the fulfillment. When you feel God calling you toward a particular place or decision, your faithfulness does not hinge on the destination but on the path. Faithfulness is found in our willingness to stick with God, and to travel with God, no matter where the journey ends up leading.
Faithfulness is the "Fruit of the Spirit" for Riviera Day School this month. That means that Paula Miklos, Will Newton, and I have been teaching preschoolers what it means to be faithful, and what God's faithfulness looks like. Romans 8 says that NOTHING can ever separate us from God's love. Most of us need to be reminded of this. When I feel like I haven't measured up, or like the tasks set before me are too large, or when I just feel like giving up... I am reminded that God does not call us to be successful but faithful. Success is not one of the fruits of the Spirit. When God is with us, who can be against us? Even in failure, we find grace and growth. When we turn away, or loose hope, God remains steadfast. God does not love us because of what we accomplish or do - God loves us for who we are. May that love give us the courage to face whatever path is ahead of us, and the endurance and strength to keep moving forward.
Grace and peace,