Today was a great day for our church and for me personally. I had an early morning meeting on the last inspection for our occupancy permit. The great news is that we, as a church, are now able to use our new building. It has been over one year since we last held regular services. It is an understatement to say that, “Today was a great day for me!” Think of the journey to get here, I am reminded of the “Blessing of Sticking With It.”
It is a sweet day when the big milestone is reached. It could be graduation (or watching your child graduate). It could be the birth of a new child or the day they tie the knot. It could be the day you retire. It could be simply the completion of a project. The bottom line is that the day of completion is a great day. Today was one of those days for our church and especially for me. Our work on the site actually began 5 years ago in February with the negotiation to purchase the property. Little did we know that signing those papers would become a five year journey with ups and downs. I am reminded at all the points we could have talked ourselves out of following the Lord’s leading but we did not. God has been faithful to bring us to the joy of today. We are now looking forward to what the Lord has for us in our next phase of ministry for our congregation.
My heart is always heavy for those that choose not to do ministry and those that choose to stop doing ministry. There are always good reasons for those choices and I cannot say what the Lord’s will is in those situations. Speaking generally, however, I am reminded that persistence in serving the Lord does bring unimaginable blessings. I am reminded of the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the believers in the city of Galatia. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9) This verse has become a personal companion to me over the last years. I am thinking back to one particular day when we had just begun installing the first section of what would eventually become about 1200’ of fence. It happened to be a cold winter day with driving rain. I remember looking at the small section of five panels that we wore ourselves out installing only to look down the line at the remaining 200 panels that needed to be installed. This situation is one where this verses and others came to mind encouraging me to keep going.
I am reminded that the sweetest joys in life almost always seems to be attached to the greatest challenges. This is definitely the case when it comes to serving Jesus. And those that make the investment know the joy when the harvest finally comes. So let me encourage you to not give up in those tough situations in your life. If the Lord is leading you then he will also bring the harvest at the proper time. Let me encourage you not to sidetrack doing ministry because doing so will also sidetrack the joy that comes from serving the Lord.
Now, I know that with today’s blessing comes the next phase of ministry. It will be a challenge. But I am already looking for “God’s harvest” that is just around the next corner for those of us that faithfully serve Him!
I also want to give a shout out to our congregation that has been faithful to the Lord is so many way and other ministry partners that have worked with us (like Northwest Baptist Home Missions). Today is a great day and I hope that you are rejoicing with me over what the Lord has done through us!
-Pastor Joe Parkinson