May 1, 2016

Reluctantly, Yet Willingly, Taking Up My Cross

I've been thinking today about a new church appointment and whether I should be willing to take it. At this stage in my pastoral ministry it is not about the money. I'm able to fully retire comfortably, as long as the federal government doesn't go under. What it is about is remaining open to the LORD's leading in my life into new ventures in discipleship. It's about deciding to accept the new things that God is doing in my life, to start afresh in ministry.

Jesus told each of His followers to take up their cross daily and die to themselves. The cross the LORD has given me to take up for Him is not some burden I must endure such as a chronic disease. It is, instead, a new challenge which I can evade, if I so choose, but one I nevertheless take up willingly, even if it has some misgivings.

Jesus, my LORD, reluctantly, yet willingly, took up the cross that was presented to Him in Gethsemane. In so doing, He fulfilled God's will for His life and set the pattern for discipleship for me. So, as a new church appointment possibility begins to take place, I find myself willing, even eager, to see God at work in new ways in my life. I will work to identify God's newness in my life, especially when it doesn't seem to be there. I am determined to trust God in new ways, even if I'm apprehensive about what He might be doing in my life. Mostly, I will in all things seek to give God the glory and thanks for His wonderful gift to me at this late time in my ministry.

Just as at the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, He has now promised to bring forth a new heaven and earth at the end of time. My prayer is that He grant to the church, my wife and me a firm conviction of His goodness and a zeal to participate fully in whatever He intends for us. I pray that we all may be effective witnesses to the world in both word and deed as people who steadfastly proclaim God's love.

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