WHAT GOD IS TEACHING ME NOW
I may be retired from pastoring, but I’m not retired from ministry (just ask Nancy!). And I’m not retired from growing in the Lord. God has still been working in my life. You know, He wants to do that if we’ll let Him. For one thing, my self-identity has changed. I used to see myself as a runner and a pastor. Now I am neither. I am now a jogger, not a runner. Ask anyone who runs and they’ll tell you the difference. I am still a pastor by calling and gifting, but not a pastor by function. That’s fine. I know He removed me from full time pastoring of a church. He took away my energy and desire to do it. A big difference for me, though, is that now I come to Him as “just me.” I find myself approaching God a bit differently.
Long ago I learned that my German workaholism and perfectionism was a sin. But it was still special to be serving God, working with Him, knowing He was guiding me, working through me and using me for His glory. I still serve and ministry as opportunity allows. Mainly my focus is serving and ministering to my wife, children and grandchildren. That’s great and I wouldn’t change it. But letting God love me just for me, not adding in anything I am doing to earn or deserve love, is still a bit difficult for this insecure introvert. I know He loves me on the group plan, but to think of Him loving me individually just for me still is hard to comprehend. Some of you can identify.
Loving and worshiping God just for Who and what He is can be freeing and exciting. But it is different doing it more as a spectator than front-lines participant. I know we are all in God’s army and have our own battles to fight every day, but I also know I am no longer on the front lines. I make occasional trips there from time to time, but I don’t live and minister there like I once did. I’m no less important to God, nor is what I do less important. However in a world that needs so much help and seeing so much needing to be done for the Kingdom of God, doing less than I used to takes an adjustment.
It’s hard to imagine I’ll never have to work for a salary one day for the rest of my life. “Work by the sweat of your brow” still resonates within me. Yet I know each year that I’ll be able to do (“produce”) less and less. Replacing “doing” with learning to let God love me just for me alone is stretching, to say the least. Learning to love, worship and serve by my new way of daily life is a challenge I look forward to. I hope this makes sense to you. If you understand what I’m talking about, please pray for me to be all God wants me to be, right now, as a blood-bought child of the King!
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.
If you can identify with me, think about how God is teaching you to accept His love unconditionally as well. Are you letting Him freely love you even though you don’t do as much for Him as you’d like?
If all this introvert self-analysis stuff seems confusing to you, that’s OK. Just think about what God is doing in your life now and thank Him for that.
by Rev. Dr. Jerry Schmoyer, Christian Training Organization