Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Monday, May 16, 2005

What will I do with what I have?

We finished our stewardship focus this past week, and it remains to be seen what the next steps will be for the Bethany Community as we seek God's will regarding the His purposes for our community. But in general, the stewardship focus has been very good, at least for me, as I've revisted the question of what I'm doing with the resources I've been given.

So often, the resource question diminishes into questions only about money. But it seems that money is really the least of it. The real questions, the first questions, are more internal:

What am I doing with my New Identity? The incredible truth that if any person is 'in Christ' that person is a new creation, is probably the most earth shattering truth of all, for it insists on growth and change in our lives, insists that we continue to pursue the 'new life' that God has for us. I know in my own life that my failures always begin here. When I'm bored, or bitter, or discouraged, the temptation is to believe that I've not changed at all, that I'm the same person today as I've always been. The loss of one's capacity to believe the promises spoken to us is where the real battle seems to rage, for the Bible tells us that it is by these 'great and precious promises' that we become partakers of the divine nature. When I forget about the promises, I begin to doubt my new identity, and I fall back into old patterns, much the same way that when I fail to excercise my back reverts to twisted patterns and pain. Always, reverting to the old makes the new seem even more implausible. So the battle has to do with my identity. Here's a link that offers many 'identity truths'. It's always helpful to pray through these with thanksgiving when going through tough times (depression, in the wake of failure or condemnation, sense of inadequacy for one's calling).

So the question of what I will do with what I have is really the 2nd question. The first question is this: Do I really believe that I have the things God says that He's given me? To the extent that I can answer that question positively, I am well on my way to being a good steward of the precious days God has given me. But the battle at that fundamental level is always enormous. That's why we have such a need to saturated with the Bible, developing a practice of spiritual disciplines that will enable us to 'abide' - remain, in the realm of our truest identity.


At 17/5/05 08:14, Blogger Jeana said...

Serving as the Print Coordinator for the Stewardship Focus has been pivotal in shaping what I think about sharing life. I think about Kris Thomas' commments on the logo he designed constantly. The idea of making sacrifices so that we can live closer together is definitely what I've experienced in the last couple of months. It really is about my identity so much more than my money. There we so many times I thought that my job would be easier if I did it myself. And honestly, it probably would have been. But the growth, patience, and grace I saw in myself and others as we continually made sacrifices so that we could work/live together only resulted in joy and satisfaction. And the sacrifices had nothing to do with money. It was sacrificing our time, our skills, our abilities, our ideas, our pride, our need for recognition, and so much more that has to do with who we are rather than what we have. I became part of Bethany Community Church because we shared life. So thank you. Thank you for the experience, the opportunity, and most of all, thank you for sacrifice and the call the Share Life.

--Jeana Linhart


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