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I believe that in previous posts I have mentioned that I don’t like snow. It’s got to be cold to snow, and I don’t like cold weather. Snow turns into ice and that makes it difficult to walk and drive. It costs money to buy ice-melt and pay for snow removal. A long time ago I decided that I really don’t want snow. What I want is warm, sunny weather, all the time. Some rain now and then is also okay with me.
Of course, what I want concerning the weather doesn’t really matter. I realize that God has a purpose for the weather. I believe that when God created the universe he also created laws of nature, including weather patterns which were necessary to support life on Earth. I also don’t believe that God is always micro-managing the weather he has created, but he does make some adjustments from time to time, as in “climate change”. I don’t understand how this all works. However, I do believe that, when it comes to weather, God’s purpose isn’t to please me or anyone else. In fact, God can’t please all of us all the time. After all, right now, in the midst of a snowy winter, there are people who are happy to see it snow, and people like me, who would be happy to never again see even one snowflake in their neighborhood. Obviously, God can’t please everyone all the time. So I accept that, like it or not, the weather will be what what it to be.
I think it’s that way with the church too. When I served as a pastor sometimes someone would tell me that this or that person or family wasn’t happy with the church because they didn’t like the worship service or the way somebody ran a committee meeting, or they didn’t like the pastor (me) or some other church member, or things weren’t the way they used to be, or things were too much like they used to be.
Frequently, a person telling me about all these complaints would add, “well, you can’t please everyone”. Which is true. Then I would remember that, just as God’s purpose for the weather is not to please people, neither is God’s purpose for the church to please its people. Not even the pastor. So what is God’s purpose for the church? I believe God’s purpose for the church is for it to be a people who join together to please God. To praise, give thanks to, and glorify God. To make God in Christ (Jesus) known to the world. To proclaim Christ as Lord and Savior for the purpose of making disciples, who will in turn carry out that responsibility.
In this still new year, the weather reporters are predicting more snow. I don’t like that, but there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s all in God’s hands. I hope for warm, sunny weather. I believe that God will fulfill that hope, but in his time and his way, because it is also God’s will. And God fulfills faith based hopes. I accept that I’ll have to patiently wait a while for the warm, sunny weather. In the meantime, I believe what God wants me to be doing is to renew my focus on discerning how I can please God in my current and future status as a retired pastor who is still and always part of the church. I invite you to join me in beginning or continuing that endeavor. My experience has been that while God’s purpose is not to please me, I can be and have been pleased with what God has done and is doing with, for, and through me. I believe God desires that we all be open to having that experience. God can’t please all of us all the time, but we can all try to please God all the time.
Grace and peace, Ray
Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.
May God be with you,
Patty Perez and Ray Gough