The End of the Matter

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. - Ecclesiastes 12:13

 other week I have the responsibility of writing this weekly encouragement that goes out to each of you. The purpose is to share a little wisdom and encouragement so that you can approach the rest of your week being uplifted. But I have a confession to make. I sometimes struggle because there are times I just don’t feel it. I think we all have those days where we feel as though we have a ton to do and we feel as though there is a lot riding on our actions and decisions and we just feel the weight of things. I was feeling that way this morning and I got a call from a dear friend. He asked how I was doing and I shared what I just shared with you. His response in a nutshell was this. Good thing God is enough for you and His relationship with you is not dependent on your “feelings”. I needed to hear that!  As I hung up the phone I began to think about his words and think about why I just wasn’t “feeling” it and I want to share three observations.

First, God calls us to be faithful, not successful. We often feel the weight of things because we assume more responsibility than we should. The responsibility of success. Now I am not saying that we can dismiss our responsibilities and just go fishing every day. That would be foolish. But so often we assume that our success is the end goal. Things such as being the perfect parent, flawless spouse, employee of the month, having the perfect plan for every scenario, never making mistakes, having all the answers and predicting the future are all things that we assume and the truth is we are none of those things. Not even close. The problem with this sort of mentality is it is weighty and when we fail it is devastating.
We need to remember that God calls us to be faithful and when we are He determines what success looks like. We need to remember that God is enough and His relationship with us is not dependent on our losses or successes. Jesus has covered our losses and He has done more for our success than we ever could. He calls us to faithfulness in all that we do. This is what your spouse, kids, boss and others need from you.

Second observation is Simple is often better. We are really good at adding things to our plate and often with really good intentions. We think adding this thing will improve this and adding that will make it even better and before you know it we are trying to manage all the good things we have and we don’t do anything really well. Our time and effort is consumed with maintenance rather than mission. We have a lot of good things that hinder great things.
I firmly believe that the enemy uses the temptation to clutter our lives and ministry with things, even good things, to keep us from greater things that God has for us. This observation is directly tied to the first one because we often think that complexity equals success and it is often the enemy of it. It is better to do some things really well than a lot of mediocre things. And well often means just being simple because simple often equates to genuine.

The third observation is that we can confidently rest in God’s sovereign power. The words of my friend stung but were so good for me to hear. Our God is not one that is dependent upon us. He loves and cares for us no less in the midst of our failures than when we are praising His name with the saints. He is not waiting for us to make the right move, financial decision, to be the best mom and dad or spouse. He is not crossing His fingers hoping we will not make a mistake so He can still love us. He is not waiting for us to accomplish something so He feels valued. He is God who is love and He is not waiting for us to come up with something new so that He can still be God.

I would bet that Solomon wrestled with these same things given that he penned the book of Ecclesiastes. I love his final observation in chapter 12 verse 13 where he sums up these three observations. There is nothing new- God is good, keep it simple and just be faithful; what an incredible encouragement!

I love you guys and am thankful to be your pastor.
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