25 Sep A Change of Season and Lessons for Life
Fall in Greenville (and the Upstate in general) is beautiful. The mild temperatures and natural surroundings attract tourists throughout the season, making our town busier than usual and even more important to us. Fall is also a really busy time for our churches. The return of college students, outreach events, new sermon series, football games, and a hundred other things all begin to vie for our energy and attention. But in the midst of all of this, a few things stand out in my mind as worth dwelling on.
First, we’re learning about the power and sufficiency of Scripture. Several of our residents drove up to Southeastern Seminary for a hybrid class weekend. The professor issued us a challenge from Psalm 19: “God’s word revives the soul, makes the simple wise, cause the heart to rejoice, and brings enlightenment. It’s perfect and righteous and true and sweeter than honey and offers great reward. Why would you want to offer the people you minister to anything else?” As we hear the word preached each week and find ourselves in situations where people are dealing with real sins and real difficulties, I’m forced to realize how little I really know, much less how little I’m able to effect Christ-honoring change in the lives of others. But the picture in the Scriptures is that God’s word itself is completely able to bring the dead to life and instruct us in godliness. This is a huge relief as I realize that I myself will never raise dead bones but have been entrusted with a word that is able to do that and more.
Second, we’re seeing our contexts more clearly and ministering more effectively. Having attended a Christian college and receiving a ministry degree, much of my previous training has been in hypotheticals and what-if situations. While those things have been helpful, I’ve noticed something in my heart: I tend to live in hypotheticals and what-ifs, too. The residency is forcing me to see that God’s desire to gather a people to worship him through Christ involves me being intentional in my actions and consistent in my engagement with those around me. A lot of the time, this isn’t nearly as glorious as all of the imaginary evangelistic crusades I went on in my head in college. I usually run out of things to say. I struggle to relate to people from completely different backgrounds and life situations. I find myself regretting not being bolder and wondering if I could have approached situations differently. But in all of this, the grace of God in my ministry has moved from being hypothetical to being tangible. Being able to look back on my day and say “I talked about Jesus and God was with me” is so much more rewarding than “some day I’ll talk about Jesus and God will be with me.”
Finally, we’re growing in our commitment to one another. Two of my fellow residents are in my upcoming wedding. They’ve become some of my best friends, along with the rest of the staff that I serve with. I couldn’t imagine my life without these brothers around me and often find myself simply thankful to be able to grow in the gospel alongside them. Generation LINK’s greatest strength may be the friendships that it creates for a lifetime of service to Jesus. Learning what it means to love one another provides consistency on the busy days, rebuke on the bad days, encouragement on the hard days, and laughter on all the other days. I’m looking forward to the next year to see how the Lord equips and sends every one of us to make his name known and how he joins us together to advance his kingdom.
Fall will always be one of the best times of the year in Greenville. But even as the season passes and many of us end up in different places, the lessons that the Lord is teaching us in this season will shape us and stick with us from here to the ends of the earth and the end of the age.
Generation LINK Resident
The Church at Greer Station