I can’t wait for my vacation – but it’s good to be home!
My family and I are looking forward to a much needed trip to California. I’m sure many of us have had our plans cancelled or redirected this past year, so when the opportunity to finally take that trip you were planning comes around – bring it on! We are looking forward to getting away.
But there always comes a point in a vacation where you’re ready to go back home. You miss your bed. You want to eat “normal” food. Maybe you have pets you’ve had to leave behind. You know the work is piling up for you while you’re away, so you don’t want things to get too out of hand. Even though the little excursion away was fun, you know that it’s not forever. “Normal” life is waiting for you back home.
Our life in the church community is very similar. On one hand we’re super excited when something new is happening: that one-off big event, the work camp down south, the mission trip to the other side of the world. Often these opportunities are a lot of fun! A lot of time, energy and resources goes into planning these events, just like when we plan for a family vacation. We have to figure out transportation, a place to stay, food to eat – all sorts of details. It’s a lot of work and a lot of fun.
But those ministry events can’t be forever. We can’t keep up that pace all the time. We don’t have the time, energy and resources to do these things week in and week out. And that’s because we were never called to do that. Those things aren’t home.
God has placed each of us in a particular place, given us specific skills, surrounded us with a certain group of people – He’s placed us just where He wants us to be. And while this everyday life and ministry to which we’re called aren’t necessarily glamorous or particularly exciting, it’s exactly where God wants us to be. So having that dinner together as family – yeah, that’s where God wants you to be. Being an honest, hard worker, dedicated to your job, whatever it is – yeah, that’s where God wants you to be. Caring for your kids, doing the laundry, shuttling people back and forth – yeah, that’s where God wants us to be. Coming to worship on Sunday, sitting in the same pew, saying hello to those same people you saw last week (and that new family a few rows up!) – yeah, that’s where God wants you to be. No single one of these things is necessarily all that exciting; it might even seem boring, but this is where we live life, and God is working here, in these moments of life, every single day.
So maybe the regular ministries at Cross aren’t always big and flashy – not when you compare to other things. Maybe they aren’t even as flashy as what other churches are doing. But these regular, ordinary things are where we truly find our life in Christ – not escaping from it, but living in Him. In our Community Groups. In worship. In weekly Children’s Ministry. In the ways we serve our community. In how we speak to our neighbors. Because it’s in these places where we find encouragement and care. These are places we can find rest. These are places where we live life together – all in the company of our Cross brothers and sisters! Sometimes it seems like a lot of work (because it is!). Sometimes it doesn’t seem particularly exciting. (It’s not always.) But I promise you, Jesus is there – and where He is, it’s always good. He’s what makes this ordinary life home.
Jesus says that He has come so that we might have life and have it abundantly. He warns that the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10). Let’s recognize Jesus working in our life, our everyday, ordinary, sometimes boring life. The temptation is always to look somewhere else and think that the next big thing is where life truly is found. Keep those big things, like vacations – appreciate them for what they are – but don’t forget home. Don’t compare and long for something else, allowing Satan to steal what you’ve already been given. Live life with Jesus, right here, right now, with the rest of us here at Cross. There’s a lot of life to be lived here at home. (And a lot of fun to be had, too!)
In His Hands,
Pastor Matt Conrad