My name is Jeff and I'm a pastor of a small, local, Christian fellowship

It's a wonderful thing to love your work; to know that when you do it you are doing something that you were born to do. I am so fortunate to be both. I don't say I am the best at what I do. God knows that are so many others who do it better. But I do feel fairly lucky to be called by such a good God to do work I can only do with his help, to be loved by a beautiful woman, and to have a workshop where I can work my craft. These musings of mine are part of that work.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A bit of sky: A little encouragement for my pastor-friends on February 1

I can't remember when the last time we had a sunny day. Maybe it wasn't too long ago but it feels like forever. For all my pastor-friends out there who are in need of a pick-me-up, here's a bit of sky for you. Keep up the good work. It matters what we do and how we choose to live!

by Shel Silverstein

Charles Jefferson pastored the same
place for 40 years
"When God distributes His rewards He does not ask a minister concerning the size of his church, but simply inquires about the spirit with which he has done his work. To every man who shepherds Christ's sheep is the privilege granted of growing into the likeness of the perfect Shepherd. Large parishes spoil some men, but small parishes spoil others. High positions are dangerous, and so also are positions which are humble. A prominent church may make the minister conceited, but an obscure church may do the same thing. A man in a humble church may become very conscious of the sacrifice he is making and talk about it often. Those who are very conscious of their sacrifice, and voluble about it, are not saints after the fashion of the Lord. There are men in high places who are vain, envious and discontented; and there are men in low places in the same unhappy frame of mind. Wretched is the minister who is sour in spirit because his dream of advancement has not been fulfilled and whose life is a long-drawn repining because he is not allowed to become the shepherd of a larger and finer flock."

Soul food
"It is a consolation for all ministers great or small that no matter where one may find himself, or how difficult or obscure his field, the way is open to follow in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd and to win at last the crown of glory. It was a faithful village pastor who wrote these words:

Do the work that's nearest,
Tho' it's dull at whiles,
Helping when we meet them
Lame dogs over stiles;
See in every hedgerow
Marks of angel's feet,
Epics in each pebble
Underneath our feet.

"We have come at last to the crowning reward: everlasting fellowship with Jesus Christ and unending participation in His glory. Whatever the glory of the Chief Shepherd is, we who are undershepherds are, if faithful, to share in it. His prayer was and is, “I desire that where I am there they may be also, that they may behold My glory.” What that glory is we know not now, but we shall know hereafter. Paul calls it a “crown of righteousness.” Peter calls it a “crown of glory.” Jesus calls it a 'joy.'" (pp. 139-140)

And finally, here are Paul's final words in 1 Corinthians 15 that are life-giving to me every time I read them. May they be life-giving to you, too, wherever your ministry assignment may be:

"With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don't hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort." (1 Corinthians 15:58, The Message)

Carry on and keep up the good work!