I came across two quotes in my reading this week that served as really great reminders for me as I was preparing for this past Sunday’s sermon on the Presence of God. They served as great reminders for me about Lent, about my role as pastor, about our role as church, and ultimately about who we are as followers of Christ, and children of the Living God.
The first is from Eugene Cho, the pastor of Quest Church in Seattle. Pastor Eugene is a very gifted preacher, leader, writer, and is passionate about caring for the people of our world. He always seems to me (seeing him from a distance through social media and fellow colleagues) like the kind of guy who is always going, going, going. He seems like the kind of guy who always has an incredible vision and is always pursuing that vision. And with that in mind his words were particular striking to me…
“Perhaps this is just me but sometimes, I can become so enamoured with a vision or calling that God gives me that I forget or neglect the God who gave me that vision in the first place. Visions and calling are important, but let’s keep them in perspective. We worship God, not the vision. The latter would be idolatry, and even good things can become idolatrous. In other words, as we enjoy “gifts”… don’t forget the Giver of gifts.”
This past fall, during Breakthrough we, together as a church family, put forward and committed to six Visionary Initiatives. These are six things that we are passionately pursuing together. Pastor Eugene’s words are a reminder to me that in the midst of the visionary initiatives we have committed to, we have to be ever mindful that we are seeking time to worship and grow in our relationship with the One who supplied that vision, the One who empowers us, the One who is the Giver of all gifts.
The second quote I came across was from Corrie ten Boom, the Dutch Christian woman who helped many Jews escape the Nazi’s in Germany during the Holocaust. She was imprisoned for these actions. She certainly is someone who would know fear and uncertainty.
She says, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
For me, this is the other side of all of these Visionary Initiatives we have committed to. We have dreams of what they may look like, but largely they are unknown. The unknown can be scary. But, what we do have, what we do know, is that we belong to a God who longs to be known. As we spend time this Lenten season worshipping and growing in relationship with God, allow the fear of the unknown to be given over to the One who is known.