in my office,
I was having a bout with loneliness and discouragement.
before you judge me,
pastors are not impervious to these things. I mean, we’re people too.
when I start feeling this way,
I’m usually wrestling with questions that many of us wrestle with. And by “us” I mean more than just those who serve in ministry.
I mean people in general.
Am I making a difference? Because sometimes I don’t think I am.
What can I do differently? Because maybe “different” will shake things up.
Am I making a difference? (Honestly, this is the question I wrestle with more than any other, which is why I listed it twice.)
And then it happened,
because God knew what I was thinking,
what I was feeling,
and what I needed to hear.
Within a matter of minutes I received a text message that said, “You’re a blessing to me and to many others.”
And then an email came in that said, “I wanted you to know your voice doesn’t go unnoticed…He is using you in extraordinary ways outside the walls of your church.”
I lost it.
I became a slobbering, snot-nosed, teary-eyed, mess in my office; blown away by God’s love for me and how He speaks through others. (tweet this)
And all this happened because two people took the time to send a few words of encouragement.
before I go on,
I need to say that I’m not fishing for compliments.
I’m trying to show and demonstrate the power of encouragement. Because, those simple, yet powerful, words sent to me, were exactly what I needed to hear at the exact time I needed to hear them.
And so today,
if God brings someone to mind,
maybe you can send them a few words of encouragement.
it may make all the difference in the world.
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)
and more specifically,
we’ve become proficient at complaining.
maybe that’s a poor way to phrase it.
We’ve become experts at complaining.
And most often,
we complain about how dark the world is, how awful the world is, and how there’s no hope for the world.
But can I be honest?
Okay, I will.
We don’t have a darkness problem, we have a light problem. (tweet this)
We’ve become so consumed with pointing out what’s dark in the world,
even in churches,
that we’ve neglected our light.
And that’s a major problem because if our light is neglected, then it’s brightness may start to diminish or be covered up completely.
Think about it.
The more we spread hate,
the more unloving we appear,
the more unloving we appear,
the more our influence is lost.
And our influence is tied directly to the brightness of our light.
let’s drop the agendas,
let’s stop the finger pointing,
let’s focus solely on our light so that hope may be seen once again.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
At some point in time,
each of us will find ourselves in a dark valley,
full of despair and full of questions.
I said, “At some point in time.”
you may have already made it through a dark valley,
you may currently be in a dark valley,
you will be in a dark valley.
valleys are part of life.
We will face the loss of loved ones. We will go through times of uncertainty. We will experience doubt. We will experience fear. We will experience hurt.
what do we do in valleys? What do we do when we find ourselves in a situation that seems hopeless?
As difficult as this may be to hear, I believe it needs to be said:
When we find ourselves in a dark valley we need to keep walking. (tweet this)
I believe this is why the scripture does not say, “Yea, though SIT DOWN in the valley of the shadow of death.”
Sitting down would signify defeat, sitting down would signify hopelessness, sitting down would signify that we do not see a way out, and that couldn’t be any further from the truth.
Because in the valley,
God is there comforting and leading the way to a pasture that is green, a pasture where you can exhale and be refreshed, a pasture unlike any other.
And all we need to do is keep trusting,
keep pressing into His presence,
Compassion not only interrupts,
It may not cost money,
though it often will,
but it will cost something.
Most of the time compassion costs time and energy that we could be using for something else.
the time and energy spent on compassion is always a good investment. In fact, any investment in the Kingdom is a good investment.
you may sweat,
shed some tears,
sacrifice your time,
or possibly go all out to help someone,
but isn’t it worth it?
Isn’t compassion what you would want someone to show you if you were in need?
I know I would.
when it comes to compassion,
don’t count the cost,
count the gain and impact.
And most often,
it interrupts when we lest expect it.
Rarely do we wake up
I’m going to be compassionate today.
let’s be honest,
compassion is the last thing on most of our minds when we crawl out of bed. We think of how full our bladder is, how quickly we can consume coffee, doing our morning devotionals, what the day holds,
but certainly not compassion.
God loves to mess up schedules with divine interruptions,
something we didn’t plan,
something we weren’t counting on,
to give us an opportunity to be compassionate.
And the question is whether or not we’re willing to be interrupted?
Because if we follow Christ,
if we say we are compassionate,
then we must be willing to accept interruptions as opportunities.