How many coins are in my coin collection? I don’t know this answer. My guess would be around four hundred. I’m just now in the process of organizing and taking inventory. I have worked through my pennies, nickels, dimes, and half dollars. Still ahead of me I have my quarters and foreign coins. The current inventory results surprised me.
My focus has been on half dollars. I started my collection when I was a kid and have just now come back to it. My thought has been to do one hundred consecutive years. At the moment, I have twenty-six consecutive years, and a total of fifty different years represented. When I did my penny inventory, I discovered I’ve already reached eight-one consecutive years, with a total of ninety-one years in my collection. Although I will still work on the half-dollars (along with the nickels, dimes, and quarters), I’m shifting my immediate focus to the pennies. At face value (as opposed to retail value), my collection will soon be worth a dollar!
How often do we stop to take inventory of the resources in our lives? This can be a valuable thing to do. Not only can we look at what we own, and have invested, but it is helpful to look at our gifts, blessings, and talents. This is especially important in transitional times in our lives, like when we retire. For most of the last thirty-two years I have been defined by being a pastor of a church, or more recently, a district superintendent. Who am I going to be defined as on July 1?
I’m totally convinced all of us are multi-talented. We can do more than we believe we can do. What are we passionate about doing? This is a good place to investigate if we are looking for changes in our lives. Maybe we are looking for a hobby, or a side-hustle. Others of us, like myself, are looking to do major changes in our lives. I’m not planning to stop living or stop working. I’m hoping to live, and work, in a different way. Perhaps more simply, with less stress. I want to explore writing, speaking, and my artistic abilities.
What about our churches? Are we finding our attendance is declining, and we are struggling to reach younger generations? Maybe it’s time for us to do some major shake-ups in how we do “church”. We have become deeply entrenched in doing “ministry by committee”. How is this working for us? I think it’s time to take inventory of the passions and abilities of those who are part of our church families and explore doing ministry in different ways. There are exciting ministries waiting to happen in each of our churches if we are willing to take risks and give permission.
Last week an introduction of a new pastor with the SPRC went in an unexpected direction. After the pastor shared the things she enjoys doing, she asked each of the SPRC members to share things they like to do. The energy went up! I was impressed with the depth of personal ministry these members are involved with. Most of these activities are outside of the church. I wondered if they could invite others from the church to help. In the room it felt like a revival was happening! The excitement and commitment could be felt. We need this level of excitement and passion in our churches! How well do we know the interests and passions of our church members? Is it time take inventory?
Your brother on the journey, Mark
Further thoughts: While I wrote this article, I took inventory of my quarters. It’s really nice to know what I have!