I think I’ve cried more tears in the last 5 years than I have in the 29 years before that. It’s funny how life can change so much and people can let you down and you learn to rely on God all while trying to keep your heart soft toward others (who will continue to let you down).
My dad is in the process of cleaning out his office. The church office he’s worked in for the last 28 years is going to be cleared out. All of the memories will be in our hearts, but no longer sparked by the place he worked for so long.
The process is considerably more difficult than I thought it would be. I can’t imagine what Dad must be going through. I’m just sitting here at home in tears. He is doing the real work.
People can be so cruel. I always knew that, but I never really witnessed it firsthand with my family. I know my dad has done his best to protect us, and for that I am grateful. We have been on the receiving end of tremendous blessing as well, and I will never forget that.
I have read many posts about Christians becoming bitter towards the church and leaving in search of the perfect one. I do not want that to happen. Bitterness and avoiding and running away is not the answer. How many believers before us have endured unimaginable pain, physically and mentally? I read so many blogs that tell me how other Christians deal with betrayal in their churches. It’s easy to become disillusioned and follow the example of others that we respect. However, the Holy Spirit keeps bringing me back to the Bible.
The sower sows the word. These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.
Mark 4:14-20 (NASB)
When I reach this passage, I think the end is the perfect description of my dad. He has led so many the Lord that I think it’s truly obvious that he is the seed sown on the good soil. What an amazing example he has been to me. I am going to choose to celebrate God’s work in him rather than dwell on those who like to stir things up in the church.
I remember the days when I worked outside of the home, I often felt unappreciated by those that I worked with. I would think to myself that the management wouldn’t know where to begin if I quit and left them with all of the work that I normally did. Then they would appreciate me because I’d be gone. Now I realize just how wrong my attitude was. I still struggle with this attitude as a stay-at-home mom. My husband and kids don’t recognize me for all the work I do to keep this house going. I often mope around waiting for them to realize how burnt out I really am. I continually forget that it is God who I’m seeking to please, not man.
If we carry this change of heart into the local church, I think we’d understand that no matter who here on earth sees how we’re serving, God sees it. He is the one who matters. When people left our church, I’d think maybe if I’d have written them an encouraging note, they would’ve stayed. I know that’s ridiculous and kind of prideful on my part – like I’m really going to make the difference! But, while I know we should be encouraging one another, it’s silly to sit back and grow discontent about the church because its members are not praising you enough. We need to be responsible for our own hearts. Instead of picking apart the behavior of others, we need to be an example of godly living regardless of the actions of anyone else.
I say that to say it’s easy to leave when you feel unappreciated or wronged. I hope we can be an example of serving the Lord in our local body of believers even when it’s hard. Even when no one sees it. Even when your spirit is crushed. Because our service is to our God, not man.
I better wrap this up. I have jumped around a little too much. Thanks for listening to my thoughts on this emotional day…