From time to I pray as the disciples requested of Jesus, “Increase our faith.” Luke 17:5, NIV
In our community faith and faithfulness is needed. I should say it is necessary. There are many people who are counting on us to be strong in our faith and faithful. There are many needs, hunger, homelessness, sick and dying, dying relationships, and of course the demands and drains of what one author called “well intentioned dragons” with impossible demands. It is important that we serve God and one another with faith that comes from a loving heart.
The needs can dry up your reservoirs of love, compassion and drain your leadership of a servant’s heart, in my case a shepherd’s (pastor) heart. I want to be a good shepherd like Jesus was, loving and completing my purpose in life faithfully until the end of my days.
[Jesus] continued to love them right until the end. John 13:1, Message
[Love] keeps going to the end. … Love never dies. 1 Corinthians 13:3, 8 Message
My faith background included a heavy emphasis on miracles and signs and wonders. I’m grateful for that. I am alive as my doctors have told me since I was a child because of the faithful prayers of loving people. As I’ve grown older, though, I’ve seen many of those faithful people who have grown weary and discouraged. Some have lost their faith; some have simply quit serving and praying. They went through the motions of church attendance and even faithful giving. But their joy and fervent prayer faded away.
Once I was asked by a much older leader why one of our mutual friends had become a critical and bitter old man. I guessed disappointment. He replied, “No he quit loving and trusting others.” I pray that never happens to any of us. But I understand why it does. Our friend was a giant in my eyes, but life’s disappointments and demands drained him.
We were meant to live on leadership principles, miracles or emotions. The most important thing is loving God and loving others. (Matthew 22:37-39) How you might be thinking?
“Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with a pure heart. … don’t get involved with foolish ignorant arguments that only start fights.” 1 Timothy 2:22-23, NLT
- Run from immature self indulgence.
- Pursue a life that loves God and people.
- Mature in faith.
- Live peacefully as much as possible with everyone.
- Ask the Lord to increase your faith.
- Join a group of people that you can trust to pray with you over the years.
- Understand there are really very few things worth fighting about.
I’m grateful for my wife and children, prayer partners, friends and especially the wonderful congregation that I serve in love!
Oh and the couple on the hammock, I dreaming of summer on this sunny winter’s day!
Peace and Joy!