August is a very important month in my pastoral ministry. The way our family works, summer is the time to travel, stay up late, and do things out of the ordinary. It is the time to swim, to visit family, and to conference with the visible church.
But the majority of life cannot be like that. If the fall will be a productive period of discipline and engagement, then August simply must be a time of reengagement, of clearing the decks, of putting the tools back in order.
So this has been my prayer request to those who have asked how they can pray for me as their pastor: pray that I can get my office in order, and get ready to play my role as a mentor and teacher and elder this fall. If I do this well, I believe the Lord will bless me, and bless his people through me. If I fail ... well, I will just spin my wheels.
Sorting through boxes today, I remembered an episode from my youth where I helped my father clean off his workbench. Part of the reason it needed cleaning was because he had ALOT of tools. In addition, many of those tools had been UTILIZED in work. This meant that some of them were broken, or needed sharpening. But my clear recollection as the son of a handyman was that I desperately wanted to be a handyman with lots of tools like my dad.
You see, I think it's a GOOD thing that my office is a mess right now. Every stack of papers, pile of books or CDs, every piece of scribble paper are the leftovers of labor. I have travelled, counseled, prayed, and written in recent weeks. And the messy leftovers bear witness to it. This messy phenomenon is what Solomon was getting at when he observed that: "where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox" (Proverbs 14:4). The inconveniences of manure cleanup, implement repair or replacement, arrangement of the haymows, and whatever other "manger cleanup" is necessary is just part of the work for that farmer. He does it because the oxen is useful and strong and vital to the greater goal of harvesting "abundant crops."
So I have piles of books to be shelved. I'm off after this to move a four-drawer filing cabinet. At the moment my office looks like a Kansas tornado came through. Yet I am happy, because the "crops" have been abundant this summer. Please pray with me that I, my family, my church, and my community can roll up our sleeves to study and teach and model the truth of Christ and his Word. Please pray for Divine Appointments. Please pray the Holy Spirit would guide the church's elders into the mind of Christ for his Bride. For this I would deeply thank you.