After two weeks of quarantine at our church, we reopened this past Sunday to lightly-attended services-much more sparse than I had expected with many of our dear folks still recovering from widespread illness in our ranks. I will admit the temptation was to be incurably disappointed…something I am still working through even this morning. As Mac Brunson put it the other day, “If I am distressed it is because of a concern for pastors who are struggling, distressed, & depressed themselves. Many teeter on walking away – to what they do not know. My heart breaks for them. My plea is stay connected and stay at the task.” I opt today “to stay connected and on task” by counting my blessings with you.
I choose, because I can through Christ, to focus this morning upon the supernatural “wins” that stuck out even more than usual this week:
- Seeing my teenage son get up, of his own initiative, very early to ride in with me for the morning preparation and prayer!
- Seeing a dear man that I just led to the Lord a few weeks ago being faithful to attend with eager attentiveness!
- Seeing a church campus that our fledgling church can still afford to turn the lights and heat on..all provided gloriously and miraculously by our God just a few years ago!
- Seeing our instrumentalist put as much into their ministry with an echo-riddled room as they do with one that is packed!
- Seeing a preschool teacher full prepared and engaged in teaching her class of one child!
- Seeing the few people in our abnormally-quiet lobby excited to take a tag off the “Alms Christmas Tree” project.
- Seeing a man who has not physically attended in quite awhile be fully engaged in my preaching complete with “Amen’s” and head nods that I desperately needed in a cavernous room!
- Seeing our deacons, all at home with various forms of illness, still exhibit vision for our mission and support of their pastor in our virtual finance meeting!
- Seeing two of our young teenagers step in at the last minute to help lead on stage with the worship ensemble!
- Seeing, despite my nagging, allergy-caused cough, God’s Spirit give me liberty in preaching His Word to those in the room and online!
- Seeing an older couple faithfully provide transportation to dear, special-needs lady who in turn gave me my first Christmas card with a big smile!
- Seeing…and hearing the few kids/teens who attended just excited to be back at church and around their friends!
- Seeing a young couple gratefully and giddily letting the church know of their new baby on the way with ultrasound pictures for all to see!
- Seeing a dear man, of his own initiative, bring a little “boombox” and leading for the first time in worship a handful of kids in junior church!
- Seeing our faithful sound team pull off a well-done livestream for the many watching from home.
- Seeing sixteen men, at various stages of life and health, jump on Zoom for our prayer meeting yesterday morning!
- Seeing our worship leader down more than his fare share of honey-thickened tea to get his throat and voice where he could effectively lead worship!
- Seeing our offering total come in at a pretty solid number…considering all of the flux our ministry is experiencing right now!
- Seeing a truck driver who had just finished an eleven hour trip of driving earlier Sunday morning be faithful to both services!
- Seeing a dear pastor friend, out of the blue, message me late Sunday evening to encourage me that he is praying/pulling for me and “thankful to be in this fight with you!”
- Seeing my dear wife, still recovering herself at home, exert the effort to encourage me with meals and supportive words through the ups and downs of the day!
I think I just, with God-inspired reflection, “saw the light” on His view of every light Sunday. After compiling the above list that just kept growing at a surprising rate, I have come to realize that this past Sunday was not so bad after all. In fact, it is growing on me and now one of my favorite Sundays on record! Can I encourage you dear church member and leader, in this “weary world” of ministry, to count your blessings with me? I think you will be surprised in how many ways and people He is truly and powerfully working right now!
Remember, as Ralph Marston put it, “Being positive in a negative situation is not naive, its leadership.” I choose to lead with supernatural encouragement that defies the odds and circumstances. Will you? Make your own lists of “wins”…you will not regret it!
Here’s another post on emotional intelligence as a spiritual leader.