As this Sunday draws to a close, I am resting and reflecting a bit on some of the happenings of the day and the past week. I am in Vanderhoof, BC where I am in the midst of a pastoral transition role at a Mennonite Brethren Church called, Nechako Community Church. This is the last stint this month before I take a ten-day break to refresh and focus attention on some family matters. Today was the last on a short series of church vision messages that tried to demonstrate the importance of a clear purpose for the church — something that evidently has lagged in the last while (or “leaked” as Bill Hybels is fond of saying).
One of the things that’s evident from the great people of faith in the Scriptures is the large sense of vision that was defined by the nature of their faith. In fact, it could be said that faith is really what vision is all about. Jesus shared fully in the divine nature, but during his sojourn on earth as the divine man, one can’t help but notice the very real sense of purpose in all that he did. Some may think he was merely moving about touching people’s lives as the need presented itself.
His primary purpose, no doubt, was to announce and demonstrate the emergence of his kingdom here on earth (Matthew 4:23-25), and to build his church (Matthew 16:18). He told his disciples that his food was to do the will of him who sent him and to accomplish his work (John 4:34). Part of his purpose also was to establish a team of leaders who could carry on his work after he was gone (Mark 3:14). Though he lived in dependence on the direction of his Father in heaven, he was living according to an overall plan.
There is an important sense in which this has how God has called His people to live as well. The general purpose that God has for each Christian is to enter into the ministry of Jesus to announce and demonstrate the emergence of Christ’s kingdom, to build his church by making disciples — teaching them the very things that they have been taught as Paul demonstrated as well (2 Timothy 2:2). Thus the purpose of individual Christians and the church should be very intentional along these lines. Yet, at the same time, they need to live in continual dependence of Christ and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, not only for His power, but also for His continuous direction — in the same way that Jesus did.
One little incident this week, reminded me again of how dependent we always are on God’s help. We have a theatre system (actually just an amp, DVD player, Apple TV box, cable box, and TV). It’s nothing elaborate on one hand, but definitely more technology than we can manage with our limited knowledge. Once it’s set up, it works great, but if one of the inputs isn’t quite right, figuring out exactly what to do is hopeless even by reading the instructions. (We recall a time when life was a lot simpler; nevertheless, we are grateful for the quality of media when it’s working right.) Recently, inputs were changed (perhaps by accident), to the extent that we had to call a home theatre techie to recalibrate the settings. For a fee, he came and managed to get everything set up again the way it was supposed to be.
But there was one remaining problem, which he didn’t know how to fix (because the remote was not one with which he was familiar)! I wanted to get the remote to work for the amp, as well as everything else. But I was stymied, even after going back to the cable company to get a new remote. Following all the careful instructions that came with the remote didn’t seem to yield any positive results. But I prayed for God’s help.
After inquiring of Google what could be done, I saw a small directive on the “contents” page of the huge instruction manual that seemed to address the problem. But the solution required going to the last setting on the “OPT” input, and making one small switch. I did this, hoping I wouldn’t disturb the original settings. Then I tried the remote, and “low and behold,” it worked.
Why do I share this simple story of frustration and resolution? Because it demonstrates in a very small way how the challenges of daily life can be solved by communicating with God. In my work and daily life, I feel so dependent on God for His direction — even as I purpose to seek to fulfill the general plan that He has for my life, as shown to us in Christ’s purpose. In my daily affairs, I find myself continually calling out to God for His intervention, for His guidance, and for His blessing. Every day, it seems, I find myself amazed by how God works — often in response to the simplest prayers.
The story also demonstrates that there are many experiences in our daily lives that seem peripheral to our main purpose or goal. But the fact is that these private and personal matters are all part of the big picture of fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives in Christ by dependence upon Him. Home theatre problems seem secondary, but on the other hand, it’s all part of the lives God has called us to lead as we seek to fulfill His larger purpose where He has placed us.