October 24, 2020

Pastoral Nuggets: Teachable Moments

Brother-Aaron-236x300

This week, my life has been filled with what I call: Teachable Moments.

This week, I received the news that one of my pastors had a stroke while walking on his treadmill.

He had blood clots in both carotid arteries and one had hit the speech center of his brain and he couldn’t talk.

The situation looked bleak. However, today he is much improved, talking, and recovering. In fact, he was released from the hospital and came home Sunday. I was reminded that life is fragile, but also that God can work in impossible situations.

This week, I watched as a friend drove a bulldozer into of one of my churches to finish demolishing the remains of their collapsed sanctuary. I thought about how proud those members must have been in the 1980’s when they constructed that sanctuary.

I thought about how they must have believed this sanctuary, that they had sacrificed for and given their blood, sweat, and tears to build, the works of their hands, if you will, would stand for hundreds of years.

I thought how sad it must be for them to experience this reality. As the sanctuary lay on the ground a neighbor from across the street came and removed the small aluminum cross that had adorned the steeple. They thought the church might want to preserve it as a memento.

I was reminded that nothing last forever. Everything has a time and a season. And sometimes it’s best to simply take the mementos that remain from our past, remove the rubble that remains – and move on.

This week, I was sadden to receive the news that hospice has been called to care for a longtime friend and former church member. I was reminded that my wishes aren’t always God’s will and that He doesn’t always answer my prayers the way I ask.

This week, I was saddened to read a Facebook post from a friend going through a divorce that said something to the effect of, “I don’t want to be an adult anymore. I want to turn-in my ‘adult card’ and not have to deal with this.” I was reminded that life doesn’t always come with fairy-tale endings. But I was also reminded of what our Lord told Paul:  “My grace is sufficient!”

In the midst of all of this, I remembered something I heard years ago. Somebody said, “Life can be reduced to three words: ‘It goes on.’”  And indeed it does!

I have come to the realization that on any given Sunday, we really don’t have a clue what is sitting in the pews of our churches.  People come. They put on the façade of smiling faces.

But the cold hard reality is – they bring their baggage with them!  And they come looking for answers – which we may not have. But we can be kind. We can be sympathetic.

And we can have a word of encouragement for them. And above all, we can give them hope through The God of All Hope – Whom we serve.

My prayer is that we won’t be so busy or distracted by life that we miss the teachable moments God sends daily. The question isn’t if God is speaking.  The question is: Are we listening – and are we teachable?

Brother Aaron

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