February 5, 2013

Support from the Past

Yesterday I was sitting in my office reading a chapter of  'Five Seconds At A Time: How Leaders Can Make The Impossible Possible'. The book so far is interesting, it is about, 'When a tragic mountain-climbing accident left business professor Denis Shackel stranded on Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand, he turned to the leadership principles he’d been teaching for years to survive the longest night of his life.'

I am not here to talk about the book. To be truthful I am only on the second chapter, and I skimmed chapter two rather fast. Instead as I was 'reading' chapter two yesterday I found myself thinking about the past.

This book has sat on desk since August of 2010. Well that is not entirely true. What it really has done is sat on my desk from August 2010-January 2012, than it sat in a box from February 2012-July 2012, and now it sits on my desk again, slightly more leafed through than before. What is more I have about a dozen other books sitting on my desk right now that would tell a similar story.

One of the great perks of being a pastor is I have a book allowance. Which means beyond the normal pay I get I am allotted some money each year to pick up books to help develop my own skills, leadership and spiritual growth.

I will confess the first two years I was given this allowance I felt it was my duty to spend it all, whether I would have the time to read every book I picked up or not. As as it turns out I picked up a number of books that I have not taken the time to read yet.

It struck yesterday as I was reading this book that has sat on my desk since August of 2010, that I am benefiting and Sackville Baptist is benefiting from the investment that my previous ministry put into me. This is true of course beyond just the books on my desk. At my last ministry I sharpen my preaching skills, I learns how to conduct meetings  and I had copious opportunities to learn conflict management skills. I won't pretend to have learned any of these skills in their entirety  but I am without a doubt better at them now than I was in 2006.

When I stop to think about all of the people who have invested in my life even though most will get little in return I am in awe.

It reminds me of what we read in Hebrews 12:1-2a "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith."

Scripture tells us that there are a great cloud of people cheering us on, and supporting us in our faith journey. This is undoubtedly true. No matter what is going on in our lives right now we are benefiting from the investment others put in to our lives. On days that I feel discouraged, this is a heart warming thought.

What about you, who has invested in your life? And who is reaping the benefits of that investment now?

Not quite that the author of Hebrews had in mind, but cute never the less.

*****Oh by the way, if you were popping in for another blogged sermon you will have to wait for a week. A combination of snow and freezing rain canceled our service at Sackville United Baptist on Sunday. But in other news I am not a week ahead in sermon prep!*****