"I was thinking..."
I was thinking…Pastor Steve
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5: 16 - 18 (NIV)
Since I made the announcement that we will be retiring at the end of June, I’ve reflected on our time here at Maineville. Dona and I have felt your love and devotion to us and been blessed each day we have been here. To say it will be difficult to leave is a huge understatement. I don’t want to dwell on it (you know how easily I get choked up!) so I’ll try not to reminisce too much in the upcoming months. But I wanted you all to know that we continually give thanks for you and the privilege to bring God’s Word before you, whether in a message or study.
I’ve said that retiring from a job that has gotten old and monotonous, or incredibly unsatisfying, or people who are a struggle to work with…those jobs are much easier to leave. We have thoroughly loved and enjoyed you, shared in your tears and joys, and will continue to hold each of you close in our hearts and minds.
That being said, I was thinking how much I need to give thanks to God for this opportunity to learn about your lives, your histories, and your desires for the future. You have knocked me over with the support you have given to the various missions: Operation Christmas Child, the Veterans, and Global Smile this year, not to mention your continuous support for LaCroix in Haiti. And, in addition, we hosted a Global Simulcast for the Wesleyan Covenant Association.
In the midst of that, you resurfaced the parking lot, painted the parsonage and redid the floor, epoxy the basement floor in the church, painted the sanctuary, and upgraded the lights in the sanctuary, plus, we are currently awaiting carpet for the sanctuary. The faithfulness of your offerings and the giving above and beyond to these various projects reveal the heart of a forward looking fellowship. All the while maintaining a great bank balance that affords the ability to keep the bills paid!
I realize that there may be some trepidation on the upcoming transition next summer. Pray; it’s never too early to pray for your next pastor and spouse. As Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica, pray in all circumstances. Not just when you are desperate and at the end of your rope. No, pray in the good times, giving God thanks always. (I think God really appreciates the praise, just like any of us would. And maybe He’ll listen a little closer when we make our petitions for health, family, and new pastors.)
“Be joyful,” Paul writes. Like the song by Johnny Mercer says, “You've got to accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. And latch on to the affirmative. Don't mess with Mister In-Between.” Keep your head up and focused on the blessings God has given each of you. Remember you are a child of God, given that title by the Resurrected Lord Jesus. Once we have that realization, we should be able to find other blessings in our lives: jobs, family, home, church, etc. Now, in each of those things, we may not have an Elon Musk job or be in the Osmond family. We may not have a home in the Hamptons and our church doesn’t look like St. Peter’s Cathedral, but they may be just perfect for us. God knows what we need and what we need to keep us humble.
So, give thanks and do it joyfully. I know that we will…for all of you and the experiences we have had in our time at Maineville UMC. Thanks so much to our Veterans and may you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving. God bless.