In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:4-6
“Ok, but future is uncertain” was the answer that made me pause. It was part of a survey that I was asked to take about my congregation. Answers ranged from “closing soon” to vibrant and excited about the future”. We are in the black, but not by much as we depart the summer for fall and winter offerings. We are seeing the generosity of the members as money comes in for the new air conditioner. Yet, I always wonder about the future. The congregation is graying (although we are seeing some younger members). We are unsure about the future of Abiding Faith and how that will impact us. We struggle with Sunday school but are encouraged with a class of five kids who are about seven or eight. I thought back over my 35 years of ministry and realized that there were always challenges.
Paul sits in prison awaiting his trial in Rome. His hands are tied in that he can do little for the Philippians other than writing this letter. His thoughts go back to the progress that the Lord was making in this little church. It didn’t start well. He was imprisoned falsely and beaten in Philippi, yet the church had grown. It had become the jewel in his ministry which provided financially for him and for the poor in Jerusalem. God had started something wonderful and would continue to bring blessings to this church and to its people. Good things were happening, but God was not done yet. There were more blessings to come.
Every church can look at the negative but it is more helpful to look at all that God is doing. We could look at the departure of the Stouts to live with their son in Las Vegas or we could look at the arrival of the new families. We could look at how we wish that we had a surplus of money or be glad that the Lord gives us our daily bread and has kept us in the black. As we focus on all that the Lord has done, we have confidence that he will continue to do those little miracles in the future. We don’t know what the future will bring. We do know that the future is not uncertain because God is at our side. As we cling to our Lord in His word and take all our concerns to Him in prayer, the future looks brighter. The Lord shines in our darkness with his love and power and the blues seem to melt away. Maybe the better answer to the survey is Ok and the future is certain with Jesus leading us onward.
What blessings in your life and at Bethany are you particularly happy about? What blessings will you pray for and be willing to work for so that the future is even better?