Rustlings (July 8, 2019)

If you need a sense of completion to bring satisfaction to your life, professional ministry is probably not the vocation for you. In fact, church members, ministers and congregations often tire of pushing through programs and piety, year after year, never knowing if lives or communities or the world ever really benefits. We spend a lot of time plowing fields, planting seeds, watering souls, teaching the young, and offering our money, yet rarely see the fruits of our efforts. We typically trust that God oversees the complete journey of people’s lives. We work…but rarely have a sense of completion.

This summer, we have the opportunity to enjoy some ‘end results.’ Months ago, our church met Thandhi Tutu (Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s daughter) and Mapitso Rivera (his niece). We worshipped together, ate together and ended up dreaming together. We dreamed of providing 1000 portable Tutu Desks to some children in sub-Saharan Africa. Money was given, desks were designed, a mission team was assembled, and in the next few days the desks will be delivered. Pictures will be posted via social media and in a future edition of The Branch, as well. It will be a rare delight to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

This past Sunday, I was privileged to attend Sunday morning worship at Fernwood Baptist Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Almost two years ago, our church entered a covenant partnership with Fernwood. We committed ourselves to helping them move beyond a difficult chapter in their church’s life toward a healthy existence. We consulted with their leadership, shared ministry and programming resources, and co-sponsored events of mutual benefit. Friendships were forged, both churches enjoyed a mutual exchange of ideas and information, and both churches became stronger. Fernwood has called a new pastor. The worship this past Sunday was vibrant, hopeful, and well attended. We still have plans to collaborate on two more music events before the end of the year. It was a joy to join Fernwood in worship and witness the fruits of our labors.

Allow me to encourage you to….be faithful. The results of what you do day to day, give week to week, and pray for moment by moment is not always seen, but I’m convinced God adds God’s faithfulness to our faithfulness, and it truly makes a difference in the world.

—Jim