A NEW MINISTRY YEAR
A switch gets turned on the day after Labor Day. I have seen it now for 40 years. Something changes in all of us when unofficial summer comes to an end. We now turn to becoming busier and more productive than we have been for the past two months of summer.
And, I must admit: the highlight of my summer was totally unexpected. Even better than the vacation we had near the ocean, in the mountains, and in the upper Midwest, was the 90 minutes I held my granddaughter as she napped one July afternoon. When I look back on the summer, holding Brenna Lynn for an uninterrupted block of time is top on my list (and I did so a handful of times thereafter). Nothing sweeter, more restful, or more delightful- even if considered by some as unproductive.
Not only was holding my granddaughter for 90 minutes while she slept in my arms one of the more delicious parts of my summer (all grandparents know exactly what I mean), but I know I will want to keep doing the same for as long as I am able. No pace or fullness of life should hold me back. And, one of the great parallels of my experience with Brenna is how God the Father loves to hold us in his embrace, look upon our restfulness, and whisper in our ears his loving affection for us as his beloved child. No matter how busy or full our lives become.
What would happen to the busy ministry year ahead of you, if you made sure there was sufficient opportunity to hold, behold, and be held. To hold with open, outstretched, and loving arms the people, decisions, plans, and programs you are called to lead. To behold the living God who is right there beside you, upholding all who surround you with his grace, love and tender mercy. And to be held yourself by God who loves to love you simply because that’s what he does and who he is for you, the Lover of your soul.
This week may in fact be the beginning of another new, full-to-overflowing ministry or academic year for you and your family and your team. But, may I be one voice in your life who suggests with brotherly affection, that you take plenty of time to rest and trust the living God amidst the noise and confusion of a full life. This my friend is what will make life truly abundant.
On October 20, the LTI family will gather for our 15th Anniversary Gala at the Newton Marriott. All are invited! This celebration promises to be a night-to-remember as we are all held in love by the God who welcomes us home to his full embrace and the abundance of his love. If you can’t join us, please remember us in your prayers as we incite a movement of leaders who prioritize the care and nurture of the soul and practice soul hospitality as their number one leadership priority. There is simply no better way to lead in the soulless culture of our day.
Behold the joy of life-giving rest. Believe in the value of slowing down in order to embrace spacious rest. Belong to a community of trusting friends. Become a held-in-the arms-of-God child once more.