MY FINAL SERMONS on “Celebrating Change” and “Life Lessons (Retirement Service” are available on Facebook if you want to see them. https://www.facebook.com/msbcdoylestown/
On June 26 I retired after being pastor of Main Street Baptist Church in Doylestown for 35 years. I’ve taken some time to look back at the main lessons God has taught me during that time. Here’s one:
In my retirement service and an earlier blog I talked about the most important lesson I have learned in my life and ministry: God doesn’t need me, I need Him. I want to follow that up with a principle that somewhat overlaps: the more I grow the further away I am from being what I want to be.
A few years ago I started learning Hindi to help my ministry time in India. I thought if I could learn the alphabet, some simple sentence structure and a bit of vocab I’d be fine. Not so! I’ve learned far more than that, but I seem to be further than ever from where I want to be. The more I learn the more I realize I don’t know!
As I have grown spiritually over the years and my awareness of Who and What God really is has matured. Instead of feeling like I am closer to the goal of Christlikeness I feel like I am further and further away. I see more and more areas in my life that just don’t measure up to His perfection. When I start getting victory in one area of weakness I then find five more places where work is needed! The more I grow the more I become conscious of how far I still have to grow! The greater God becomes in my mind and heart the larger the gap between He and I grows.
It’s interesting to note that Paul experienced this as well. At the start of his ministry he wrote that he was the least of all apostles. Later he said he was the least of all believers and at the end he recognized he was the least of all people. That’s the way it works: the more we grow the more we know we need to grow. It’s like opening a wardrobe door and finding a whole new ‘Narnia’ in your life that needs to come under the control of the Holy Spirit!
For example, I used to be quite good at giving advice on raising children. I had all the answers, just ask and I’d tell you what to do. Then I had children of my own. Soon I realized I don’t know nearly as much as I thought I did. Growth and experience has helped me realize the same thing spiritually: I don’t know all the answers, in fact I have fewer and fewer as time goes on. But I know God has them and am better able to trust Him through it all.
I look forward to the remaining years of my life, knowing God will continue to work in me. Despite all the work that needs to be done, I can look back over the years and see where He has changed me. I know He will continue to do so. There will always be areas in my life that need work. Some need a lot of work while others have made progress over the years. It’s like a sculptor carving a model. First he painfully removes large chunks of marble that aren’t part of the final product and then he starts sanding and finally polishing. Next he moves to another part and starts with the hammer and chisel again. Can you see Him working that way in your life? Think about it and you’ll see His work. He’s the master sculptor and is committed to making you into the image of His Son. His work may be painful sometimes, but the product is always worth it! (July 18, 2016 Doylestown, PA)
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Rom 7:14-19 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
Where have you grown spiritually the most in the last year? Why?
Were is God working on you right now to stretch and mature you?
What can you to do help with the work He is doing in you?
by Rev. Dr. Jerry Schmoyer, Christian Training Organization