Sunday, November 08, 2009

All On a Sunday Morning

This morning's teaching was from the first chapter of Philippians. My husband was reviewing Paul's history: shipwrecked, beaten, imprisoned, and now chained to a guard for months on end. Still he wrote to this fledgling church with words of comfort and love. No complaints, no heavy heart.

Instead, Paul carefully recited his ministry amongst the guards, the impact of the gospel in that place. He also referenced the growing boldness of saints upon seeing his own confidence in preaching the Good News. Paul was making known that even in this situation, this season of chains, ministry abounded.

Even so, was this Paul's most fulfilling season? Did this imprisonment grant him the deep enjoyment and pleasure that he had known when living in the midst of his dear Philippians? Did his flesh enjoy this particular chapter of life?

I submit that, no, his flesh did not. This season of ministry may not go down in history as Paul's personal favorite. It yielded significant ministry, but it may not have been due to personal fulfillment.

And right about now God spoke to my heart, personalizing the lesson that was afforded through Paul's life.

Tears, to this very day, fill my eyes upon recalling the years of young motherhood when all my children were small. I loved that season. I was rewarded everyday. I would go back in a second if I could.

Paul loved his time spent with the Philippians. But here was Paul, no longer in the midst of the church and still finding purpose. Guess what? Purpose is not always directly linked to fulfillment!

Some seasons provide a natural sense of fulfillment. That's okay. As a wonderful man of God once said, "My soul feels good today -- I think I'll enjoy it!" Other times we have to speak to our souls, like David did. "Soul, get in line with the truth -- God is on the throne so rejoice!"

Here's my Sunday lesson:
Enjoy the seasons that are full of human pleasure. But hold them lightly. And don't expect that the same kind of enjoyment accompanies all seasons. Still, they can be and should be full of purpose. They can be just what God has planned and He will use them. After all, purpose is not always directly linked to fulfillment.


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