¿Habla español?

Motivated by Joy

This month marks four years since first becoming a pastor.  It is a role I never really aspired to, and yet something I can see God was preparing me for throughout my life.  Still, there are many aspects for which one cannot be prepared--just as that is true in parenting, growing older, coping with loss, and probably in your vocation as well.  2020 is a year we are all discovering the hard truths that planning, control, and preparedness have their limits; my life is no exception.

Work and family life carries on despite a pandemic, though the added pressure has certainly put a spotlight on what is most valuable and what is most in need of healing.  Similarly, those all around our nation and state and local community are finding their values and brokenness exposed through waves of viral outbreaks and civil unrest.  As the months drag on, I am becoming aware that this is a marathon rather than a sprint, and I am reminded of a favorite passage in Hebrews chapter 12.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

Focus on Jesus, he knows the way.  Boy is that easier said than done!  But then I notice his motivation, joy: "for the joy set before him he endured."  Joy motivated Jesus.  Joy in knowing that his suffering would result in the forgiveness of my sins, his suffering would result in my reconciliation with the Father, his suffering would result in that same healing salvation for you too, and his suffering would result in an eternal defeat of the enemy.  Jesus was motivated by the joy of making life better for others.

I can relate to that--though not on such a complete and cosmic level.  I imagine you can relate too.  As friends, we can be motivated to help one another move house or to sit beside one another in grief or to share our resources because we find joy in making our friend's life a little easier.  In families we do the same; healthy spouses and parents would endure all kinds of discomfort to make life better for their loved ones.  Nurses, trainers, teachers, chefs, counselors, and others will tell you they are motivated in their careers by an intrinsic value to improve the life of others.  And all of them feel the additional pressure of this marathon season.

This is certainly true of pastors too, and it is a truth not lost on the author of Hebrews.  As the letter draws to a close in chapter 13, we find these words that also make an appeal related to joy:

Be responsive to your pastoral leaders. Listen to their counsel. They are alert to the condition of your lives and work under the strict supervision of God. Contribute to the joy of their leadership, not its drudgery. Why would you want to make things harder for them?  Pray for us. We have no doubts about what we’re doing or why, but it’s hard going and we need your prayers. All we care about is living well before God. Pray that we may be together soon.
Hebrews 13:17-19 MSG

To be honest, reading this passage brought tears to my eyes because it captures the idea that, as pastors, we can be unwavering in our faith and commitment yet still get weary.  So reassuring!  Of course, I am just one of the pastors on staff, so the reminder that I could contribute to the joy of my pastors with trust and prayer--even better!  

Just like parents and teachers and friends and coaches, pastors are imperfect, but we are doing our best in this season to lead in a way that makes life better for you.  We are focused on following Jesus and hope to help you do the same.  We are praying for you and we could use your prayers.  We know you miss gathering in person and we are looking forward to being together again!

Related Posts

No Comments



12 Days of Christmas 20 minutes 2020 Acts Adonai Antelope Valley Bibile Bible Birmingham But God COVID-19 COVID Christian Voter Guide Christian home Christmas Church Colossians Communication Corinthians Dallas Willard David Devotional Doing Life Together Eastertide Easter Ecclesiastes Emmanuel Ephesians Epiphany Esther Father's Day Father Galatians God With Us God first God is good God's Will God\'s Will Gospel of John Gospel of Luke Gospel of Mark Happy Father's Day Hebrews Holy Spirit How to Pray Isaiah James Brown James Jeremiah 29:11 Jeremiah Jesus John 3:16 John Wesley John Kingdom Come Kingdom of God Leadership Lectio Divina Light of the World Lord Luke MLK Malachi Mark Martin Luther King Jr. Mary Matthew Merry Christmas Micah 6:8 Micah Monday Night Manna Nehemiah New Testament Old Testament Only God Knows Paul Peter Proverbs Psalm 23 Psalm 40 Psalms of Joy Pursuing the Presence of God Revelation Romans Ruth Haley Barton Savior Sermon Son of God Son of Man Son Surprised by Joy Thanksgiving The Free Market The Lord's Prayer Timothy Titanic Twelfth Night Voter Guide Women in Leadership Women of Faith act justly action adventure afraid anchor answers anxiety art awkward back to school balance baptism be prepared beauty and struggle belief believe black friday blackbelt blessed blessing boundaries broken brotherhood burden butter called by God called care cause celebrate centered in Christ challenges childbirth children choice choosejoy christian christ church online citizen civil rights clean hearts cleaning comfort community compassion into action compost conflict resolution conflict confusion connect contemplative prayer conversation with God creation dad dating daughtership delight depression discernment discipleship discovery discrimination distracted divine divinity do good do the action dreams early church eating disorder eden election emotional health empathy encouragement endurance enough excess expectations failure faithfulness faith fall family dynamics family fun family systems family favorite scripture fear feel find and follow Jesus forgiveness freedom friendship fruit fun galaxy garden generations generosity genesis gift goals god good news gospel government grace gratitude gravy great cloud of witnesses green bean casserole green thumb grief grit groups growth ham hangover happiness harsh truth healing healthy habit heart holidays holiday homeostasis homeschool hope how the Lord speaks how to read scripture how to talk about loss humanity human inspiration intimacy invitation isolation journal journey joy just believe justice kids kingdom of heaven let it be life together light live loss love mercy love loving like Jesus magi marathon march marginalized marriage mashed potatoes memories mental health mentalhealthmonth momlife mom motivated by joy mourn moved with compassion move neighbors new year new nothing but joy nowandnotyet one body overflowing with gratitude pain pandemic parenting parents pastor peace perseverance perspective phillipians planted by water politics practicing gratitude pray for pastors pray without ceasing prayerwarrior prayer praying praywithoutceasing pray present prize promise of God promise prophetic psalms psalm purpose quarantine questions race read reconciliation recovery reflect rejoice relationships relationship repentance resources riot roles routine rules sabbath sadness safe at home salvation scripture about justice scriptures about fear scriptures about joy scriptures about peace scriptures about race scripture seasons season self-care self-differentiation serve share shelter at home shepherds signs silence simple pleasures single dad single mom single parent sinking sink slowly sober social distancing solitude sonship soul music spiritual disciplines spiritual health spiritual practices stars star stayathome still good storm streams of water strength stress struggleisreal success sudden summer take heart talking with kids technology the truth is out there the truth will set you free the way the truth and the life thessalonians think thisistheday time together traditions transformed transition treasure trials trust in the Lord trust truth turkey understanding unfailing love universe vice president virtual vote waiting waking up walk humbly weather wedding worry worship youmatter