I have a check list of ‘Things to Pack’ on my iPhone for when I go on trips. Too often, I’ve boarded a plane to realize that I didn’t have something essential, like my speaking notes, my charger for my phone, or any spare underwear. Being equipped is an important part of being successful. Paul writes to the church at Corinth and tells them that they have been fully equipped by God. They have everything that they need (check it out in 1 Corinthians 1:5 & 7). Now, having said that, I’m not going to list any exceptions or buts. The church and the faithful must hear that they already have what they need to be successful.
This passage connects with Epiphany’s overall message of our being called, or given a vocation, from God. I believe this true on three levels; 1) that God has a life-plan for each of us and gives us exactly what we each need to live by faith 2)that every Christian has spiritual gifts and a spiritually enabled vocation, 3) That every congregation has a calling. The leadership you have and the resources the church currently own are related to what God wants to do with you. It’s time to stop blaming God for making us the way that we are.
If we are dying, either as individuals or as a local church, perhaps we should prayerfully discern what resources God has placed within our reach for hospice care. End of life decisions are important. ‘Putting your affairs in order,’ is a positive thing when done with the support of good biblical theology and faith. Pastors that can lead people through this process are a rare breed. They teach that closure and death can be forms of success.
When we are financially strapped or under-employed, when need to learn again how to pray. Can we release resentment, regret, and self-pity? Can we accept that God still has a calling for our individual lives, and for our congregation? Is there a biblical story that will help us to thing of our selves as gifted, even when materially strapped? I like the story of the Loaves and Fishes ( John 6:4-14).
When we are over worked and beset by things undone, we need to ask God for wisdom and clarity in our vision. The local church needs to know that it can not be all things for all people. It can’t even fulfill every mandate given to it by its denomination. Where are your spiritual assets? What are you passionate about? What gives you joy? It is here that God is calling you.
If the new year is bringing new transitions, how can we live as people open to the will of God? My list of things to pack when I go on a trip reminds me that I have traveled before. It is a list of things learned from previous mistakes. Life always had new lessons for us. But we have to be open to the God who challenges and deepens our faith through our transitions. How does the confidence that Paul has for the Corinthians translate to the confidence we should have for life? Is there a change ahead that God hasn’t already equipped us to handle?