Make me to know your ways, O LORD;
teach me your paths.
– Psalm 25:4
Recently, I was blessed to be hiking, and to reconnect with the beauty of creation that is all around us. It was wonderful!
However, in my exuberance I forgot to take into account the fact that we have less hours of daylight available, and I found myself hiking in the dark. No worries! I did make it back to my car, and the coyotes would have to wait for another opportunity.
It was a well-marked trail, and I knew that if I continued I would arrive at my expected destination.
As we continue on our journey together as both lay and clergy colleagues in Christ, the trails we take may not be as well marked, and we may not know what to expect at the end of the trail. More so, God may be leading us on trails that we have never traveled or which may stretch our perceived capacities for ministry and calling.
Sometimes, we limit God. Or maybe we simple become distracted. I confess that I do.
Some questions that help us refocus are: Am I vulnerable with God? Is it less about me and more about God? Can I make the statement, “Where you (God) lead me I will follow?”
The following is offered for your consideration, and while this speaks to clergy colleagues, it can be easily considered by lay colleagues, as well. We are all part of the Body of Christ, and we are on this journey together.
“Every United Methodist preacher since the time of John Wesley has been asked a series of questions before being admitted into full membership in an annual conference. The first question is, “Have you faith in Christ?” The second question is, “Are you going on to perfection?” Seventeen more questions follow, and every candidate is to be led in discussion and understanding of the questions by the resident bishop of the area. Once during the turbulent sixties, Bishop Gerald Kennedy was asking these historic questions of candidates standing before him in the presence of the annual conference session. When asked if he was going on to perfection, one candidate responded, “No!” Bishop Kennedy quickly replied, “Then where are you going?” It was an appropriate question then, and it is an appropriate question now—not only for preachers but for all Christians. Where are you going? If you continue on the course you have charted, where will it all end? So often we discount Christ’s return, forgetting that in many ways Jesus Christ has never left. Or we begin reasoning that since Christ has not returned yet, why think about it? But the truth is that at the very best, our lives are short and soon we will have reached our destination, whether Jesus Christ will have returned in a cosmic unfolding or not. Are you going on toward God? If not, where are you going? It is always a good time to review and if necessary redirect your life toward God.” —Rueben P. Job “A Guide to Prayer for All Who Walk with God”
Thank you for your willingness to be about the challenging work of the church.
Thank you for your openness to God churning in your heart.
Thank you for acting from a place of faith rather than fear. It is good to be on this trail with all of you.
Sisters and brothers in Christ, your good work is appreciated more than you can imagine, and it is a privilege to serve with you.
West District Superintendent