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“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” ~C.S. Lewis

Share the Joy – by Joe Gosha

Silhouettes of happy couple jumping on background of lake at sunset

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9

On the last day of my return trip home from Iowa to Sun City the week of June 9 (yes, I know I am going against the flow), I got sick. I was not so sick that I would not be able to complete the last 6 hours of my drive, but I was sick enough to be anxious for that entire six-hour period, and also for the entire next day waiting until I could get in to see my Doctor. As I was waiting, I was thinking to myself, “How Sun City is this!?!” In Sun City we so often get focused on ourselves and on our (seemingly) never-ending medical issues.

While there is so much to do here to maintain our health and well-being, the overwhelming preponderance of health care facilities and businesses oftentimes leads us to think of little else other than our own and our friends’ and neighbors’ health-care appointments and agendas.

The fact that our friends and neighbors are in the same demographic boat as we are amplifies the effect. If we are to be and accomplish what God has called us to be and to do we need to be vigilant – both as individuals and as the Lakeview congregation, to not get caught up in the “It’s all about me/us” mentality.

We rather need to recall that God through His Son and His Word has called us to be servants, on mission to Sun City, to Arizona, to the nation, and to the ends of the earth!

Church missiologists regularly tell us that the average church congregation becomes internally focused (rather than more focused on broader communities) within an average of five years of its founding or ‘re-setting’. (I personally believe that one of the reasons the UMC shuffles senior pastoral appointments with the frequency it does is to give local congregations a nudge in that ‘re-setting’ process.) What they mean by this is that most local congregations will gradually stop being concerned with people who are not part of the local body, and will rather focus solely on their own and other members’ well-being.

We need to be reminded that God wants to give us the blessing of knowing that our efforts spent in obeying this call to serve others will have an eternal impact that we will enjoy forever with Him in His Presence. We of course do not do good works to ensure that we will be with Him in His kingdom once we pass on – His Son’s sacrifice on our behalf has made it possible for us to know that He has forgiven us our trespasses and has already welcomed us to His eternal heaven. Rather, we pursue his plans and purposes for us in serving others BECAUSE He has made our present and forever futures secure, and invites us to share this message and surety with all those He died to save. Fact is, as well, that there is no greater joy in life than knowing that God has used us as His partners in rescuing people from pointless/meaningless presents and insecure forevers.

So, let’s not fall into the trap of “it’s all about me/us,” and not grow weary in seeking out and acting upon God’s call for us to make the eternal difference in all of the spheres of influence He has given us locally and around the globe.

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