By Pastor Wes Poole
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. – RSV
A professor of mine in seminary used to lift up regularly the fact that we should always give thanks to God for what he “has done, is doing, and promises yet to do”. This resonated with me then, and has stayed with me in the almost thirty years since I first heard him say it. We worship a God who has indeed performed mighty acts, continues to work for and through us today, and promises a future of unlimited forgiveness and empowerment for service. This is truly good news. It means that through everything, God has not only promised to provide us with what we need, but that scripture has clearly shown this to have always been true. Remember, our God is a God of action, not just words. Moreover, God is not content simply to act from “on high”, he includes us in his Holy Work and wants us to bring others into his ongoing ministry.
When I was a little kid, my family and I used to spend many if not most summer weekends at a campground in Myrtle Beach, SC. My parents kept an old Airstream trailer in storage down there. They’d call the campground, and the staff would have the camper set up for us when we got there. I have so many wonderful, early memories of that time. I remember watching my little sister take her first steps there. The downside was, we missed a lot of church in the summer. Towards the end of one summer, after a long absence, we were in church again on Sunday. As we were standing in the narthex, our senior pastor, Bernard Trexler, put his hands on my shoulders, looked my father in the eye, and said: “This boy needs to be in Sunday School.” That was that! We had fewer beach trips, but the good pastor set into effect a series of events that helped direct the course of my life. I owe the late Pastor Trexler a great debt of gratitude for his forthright faithfulness. That is God at work in the present, empowering his people for future service. I hold that story dear. It is a treasured part of my personal piety. To think that God cared enough even for little 7-year-old me that he would start equipping me for service is both staggering and humbling.
It also hasn’t changed in the years since. God almost always acts through his most trusted agents…us! Even with all that God has done, he never stops creating, and has called all of us to be a part of that in some way. If that sounds daunting, remember the old saying, “You can’t break God’s promises by leaning on them!”. Whether it’s making sure a little kid makes it to Sunday School, to meeting the challenges of our day and age such has racism, division, and poverty, God’s promises are sufficient. I call upon all of us here in the Good Shepherd family to recommit our efforts to building one another up in the faith. Our trust in God, like his promises themselves, will always bear fruit.
Let us pray…
Lord, continue to empower us to be your instruments of peace and reconciliation in this world. We know from the witness of scripture that you have done mighty things in the past, and have promised never to stop acting on our behalf. Keep us firmly rooted in faith and strengthen our resolve to make a positive difference in the lives of others as Jesus showed us. For we ask these things in his name. Amen.
Be well, be kind, and be safe. See you in church this summer! 😉
Pastor Wes Poole †