For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven…A time to be quiet and a time to speak. (Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 7 N.L.T.)
I’ve been in this time of blog silence. For the past 2 months, with a couple of exceptions, I have avoided this blog and even reading a lot of the blogs I follow. To my blogging friends please do not be offended. God has been leading me in what Solomon calls “a season”. It started out as a season for me to focus on God’s vision for the church I serve. But God added another purpose–it was a season for me to focus on ME. Please do not think I am self-serving and narcissistic. Over these many years I have encouraged caregivers to take time to care for themselves. Self-care is not a sin; it is essential. Well, I have attempted to take my own advice. The demands of church, community and family have been especially pressing in this season. So it’s not like I haven’t been doing anything. Yet, it the middle of all the pressing life-issues, I have managed to spend more time ALONE with Papa, and that is always a good thing, and a great use of our limited time.
This time to be quiet has been a learning time. One thing I’ve learned is that I need to be silent and still before God. But here’s the thing: I’m not good at being silent, and even worse at being still. I do admit that I could probably be diagnosed as adult ADHD, oh look! A squirrel! And I keep repeating to myself David’s insight from Psalm 46:10–“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”
And what I have learned in this season is that when I’m not still, my spirit doesn’t grow and when my spirit doesn’t grow I get distracted from the life that honors God. The struggle continues to be still and quiet but I am becoming more disciplined in it. And in this time to be quiet, God has been affirming and confirming my role at this stage of my life, which is to completely become a Kingdom Pastor and not a hospice pastor. Maybe I need to explain that statement.
A hospice pastor is very much like a hospice chaplain. A hospice chaplain provides comfort to a patient, their family and friends as they near the end of this life. A hospice pastor does the same thing, except it is offering comfort and ministry to a group of people known as the church, a dying church, but a church nonetheless. And after decades of service in the Kingdom, they need to be affirmed for their history and given gentle care as they slowly pass away. And they need someone to help them grieve. This is a hospice pastor.
A Kingdom Pastor is one who is called to be God’s instrument of transformation into a new paradigm which is actually an old paradigm, a couple of thousand years old paradigm: bringing the Body of Christ back to our roots of being involved in the story of The Kingdom of God and not the history of a local congregation. At times I admit I am overwhelmed by the risks involved. There are already those who think it’s time for me to leave. I admit I get a bit uneasy, OK, SCARED, at this journey. But I keep remembering (actually it’s the Holy Spirit that keeps reminding me) that those first disciples of Jesus took great risks. And here’s another thought, from The Spirit of course: the greatest risk of all was taken by Jesus when He died for me and then called me to be this pastor and preacher. With all the uncertainty that still remains in my mind, I am now ready to take the greatest risks ever in my life for the ONE who took the Greatest Risk of all eternity FOR my life.
Face it, change not only can be frightening, it IS frightening. The urge to be like the Hebrew children who were so close to God’s Promise but wanted to go back to Egypt, is the urge we all must fight. But remember Caleb–we do not fight this battle alone, but with the ONE who is Faithful to keep The Promise! And remember, love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure, very sure, that all the glory goes to HIM!