April 28, 2010
God must be having mood swings!
Yes, yes, the extra rain we are having is good for us. But this back and forth of warm and cold, dry and wet weather is starting to get annoying. Some stability would be nice, wouldn’t it? Well, weather never stays the same. That’s reality.
Isn’t this true about life, in general? I don’t know how many times I’ve said to myself that life will be less busy after I finish a particular project. Things will be more stable after the boys are off to college. I like to dream about a future where I would have freedom to do whatever I want. But each time I start looking for stability in life, I realize that this is not reality. Waiting until I’m free from family and work responsibilities to pursue my passions and calling might make economic sense. But I’ve often sacrificed present joy for a future that has not yet materialized.
Many of my peers who were very passionate about loving and serving Christ as young adults fell into the trap of deferring their spiritual growth and service to God. They wanted to wait until their lives were more stable first. But for most, stability never happened. Something always came up – marriage, getting a stable job, finding a place to live, raising kids, etc., etc. Those who have remained Christians discovered too late that spiritual growth and service cannot be divorced from everyday life. It must be lived in the present, no matter how busy the present is.
Why? Because spiritual growth and service is the foundation upon which our lives are built. A biblically-centered faith shapes our worldview and activities. It is what gives life meaning and purpose, not an afterthought. The first verse of “Take My Life and Let It Be” by Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879) expresses this so well:
Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
If we really believe that our entire life belongs to the Lord, how can we segregate a future of faithful service to God from a present that is lived for ourselves?
I write this not to create guilt. Some of us are overworked indeed and should rest. But real spiritual maturity and joy in Christ will never happen to us if we separate an imagined future of devotion from our present self-oriented concerns. In fact, if we are able to even give a little bit of time to cultivate our spirituality and service (the two cannot be separated either), we are planting seeds for future growth today.
Spiritual growth is like caring for a garden. A garden cannot be neglected. It must be tended to regularly otherwise weeds will grow. It requires patience and discipline.
Canaan offers many opportunities for us to grow spiritually – really! Children’s ministry and Vacation Bible School are just two areas where volunteers can grow through service. Perhaps we haven’t done a good job of connecting service to spiritual growth in the past. But this summer, I’m committed to making sure that our service leads to a satisfying sense of personal growth!
If you are approached to help out, please consider your service as an investment into the cultivation of your faith. And if you want to do something, do not hesitate to speak to me or any of the English Ministry Leadership Team members. I look forward to connecting with you soon!
Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨
Interim English Pastor