For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.Colossians 1:9-11
Thursday afternoon, sadly, I went over to Wilson to collect Rebekah’s car and clean out her office. The trip marked the end of possibly the shortest interim pastorate of all time.
I am not sure that I will ever understand how things work. Especially when factoring in ideas such as our commitment to follow Jesus, God’s will, providence, and my understanding that we are not spectators but participants in God’s ongoing initiatives of grace.
Then there is Rebekah’s observation – and this has come up several times in our life together – that “Sometimes God’s message to me is simply, ‘Would you just get out of my way!'”
That said, Rebekah’s short time with Wilson was anything but wasted. Her positive, productive meeting with the team that invited her to come. The one week plus one day on the job. The one beautiful Sunday in worship. The opportunity to meet with and encourage several groups within the church. The instant sense of community she felt with Wilson’s excellent staff. The opportunity to to preach one foundational message.
That May 8th sermon was supposed to be the first in a Great Ends of the Church series. If she was going to be limited to just one message, then we are glad it was, “The Proclamation of the Gospel for the Salvation of Humankind.”
In other words, if we ask the question, “Why does the church (any church) exist?” then the answer has to be rooted – always – in sharing the good news about Jesus, in communicating the message by living the truth of it out loud.
Letting the word “Rest”
So maybe what God is showing us (through the dramatic circumstance of allowing Rebekah to preach one message only and then essentially shutting her down), is that God intended to deliver that exact word to Wilson? Then, having delivered it, to simply let it marinate, percolate, stew, steep, rest. Maybe “rest” is the best of those words to get at this idea.
I don’t know if anyone from Wilson even reads this blog? Maybe this is a broader message to the church – The Church – in general? Maybe we all need to sit on – to rest in – this foundational idea. I can imagine God’s assessment: “You had one job…!”
All of us, as believers, one job. Tell the story; share the good news; invite people to come home.
Not to condemn; not to guard the door; not to judge; not to lecture; not to blame; not to berate; not to focus on other people’s sins; not to complain; not to discourage; not to reject; not to browbeat; not to manipulate…
If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,Psalm 130
Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
Just the one job. Simply to invite people home.