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Some (hopefully) helpful thoughts.

Opportunities Abound

As a kid I was a pouter. I would pout about anything and everything. It is a trait that I am not proud of and that once identified, have spent years correcting. Pouting about this, that, and the other was a mainstay in my life up through my college years. The routine was the same: I would feel slighted, ignored, or mistreated and would recoil into an emotional fetal position. 'Why me?', 'Poor old Jordan', 'Life is so hard' were all things I would say to myself.

I remember one case in particular when I was a senior in High School. I temporarily lost my position as a starter on the basketball team and, as usual, I threw a pity party. I was subbed out in practice one day, and I went all the way to the other end of the court and sat pouting against the wall. I am ashamed to even write about it. The coach's wife was there that day (who knows why?), and she came down and basically scolded me for being a child. Told me to get up and go take my spot back. I sulked a little longer, and then I did as told. I didn't pout the rest of the season. I got my spot back and went on to earn First-Team All-District honors. I thanked her at the end of the season for speaking truth to me. The pity party attitude has reared its head from time to time in my life since that day, but I learned something valuable back then: Adversity is not the end, it's the beginning of an opportunity.

Adversity is upon us all now. It has knocked on all of our doors as if to say, "It's your turn." And here we are. Isolation. Job loss. Fear. Anxiety. Worry. The unknown. And one major thing I want to communicate is this: Opportunities abound. We have a choice to make. We can sit around and bemoan our current situation and essentially cry out 'Woe is me!' or we can make the most out of the situation we've been given. I have been thinking about just a few of the opportunities that the Lord has presented us with through this crisis. Here are some thoughts:

1. Husband and Wife Have an Opportunity to Reconnect.

No matter what the barrier was that had been erected between the two of you, chances are it is somewhat gone now. Perhaps it was too much sports-watching--that's gone. Perhaps one of you were becoming a workaholic--that's gone. Perhaps it was just a really busy schedule--that's gone. You have an opportunity to reconnect now. To save a once-thought-lost marriage. Use this opportunity.

2. Parents Have an Opportunity to Reconnect with Their Kids.

It is no secret that typically, the closer a kid gets to 18, the more he/she distances himself/herself from parents. Cellphones, cars, school, and extra-curricular activities are all good things, but can often serve as barriers between parents and kids. Not to state the obvious, but most of that has been put on hold. Parents, you have your kids back for a time. Reconnect with them. Make them sit down and play a card game. Sit outside. Go on a family walk. The first few minutes will be awkward and some will feign disinterest, but they will soften. You are mom and dad. Underneath the bravado and nonchalance, they really do love you. Become a family again during this time.

3. We all have an opportunity to get finances in order.

Many will (some already have) lose their jobs soon. That is inevitable. Money will get tight. For all of us, though, our expenses are being lowered. If you do not have a budget, God could not be more clear than he is right now: It is time to take control of your money, and stop letting it control you. Money is a great servant, but a terrible master. This is an opportunity for all of us to make money a servant again rather than a master. If you are not good with money, then seek out someone that you trust who is good with money and ask them for some guidance.

4. Men have an opportunity to lead their families well.

I was thinking about this today while I was filling my wife's van up with gas. I was holding the gas handle with a napkin to protect myself from germs as best I could with my limited resources. I noticed a young guy (high school or college age) smirking at me. I know exactly what he was thinking, because fifteen years ago I was him. "What a loser. Taking this virus thing way too serious. A napkin? C'mon, bro." That's fine. I was not mad at him. Here is what I prayed for that young man as I drove away, "Lord, I pray that one day you would give that young man a wife to cherish and little kids running all around the house that you have tasked him with protecting and leading and taking care of in difficult times. I pray that one day he would feel the weight and the joy of being asked by you to lead his family well even in small things like making sure he doesn't bring any dangerous germs home with him. In Jesus' name, amen." 

Men, this is an opportunity handed down from heaven for us to lead our families well. Husband, live with your wife in an understanding way, as 1 Peter 3 tells you to do. Seek her well-being. Constantly make sure she is okay. Give her a break from the kids. Help with household chores. Lovingly check off some of the honey-do list she has for you.

5. Christians Have an Opportunity to Put our Money Where our Mouth Is.

We talk all the time about Christ being enough. Here is an opportunity to show that he is. We talk all the time about how he will provide for our every need. Here is opportunity to trust in that. We talk all the time about loving our neighbor. Here is an opportunity to show them love. We talk all the time about all sorts of things. Here is an opportunity to actually do those things.

These are just a few of many opportunities we have. How beautiful, church, would it be to come out on the other side of this crisis with stronger faith, stronger families, and stronger finances? Stronger not because we have finally learned to stand on our own two feet apart from Christ; stronger because we have finally learned how to completely rely upon him and to give him honor and glory in all aspects of our lives.

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