Do not grow weary in doing good – Jackie Halstead

 

 

Jackie Halstead, Managing Director of the Institute for Christian Spirituality at Lipscomb University. She blogs regularly at http://institutechristianspirituality.wordpress.com/ 

My focus is so often egocentric. Ministry is an honor and a joy. I love the opportunities that present themselves, but not the challenges. Doing what is right can be difficult and often without reward. My motives are pure, right? I am not doing it for the rewards, am I? True for the most part, but the discouragement I feel at times, communicates another answer. God gives me a prompt to do something and I jump right in. When there is not immediate buy-in, my feet start dragging and I am less than enthusiastic.

Paul says “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Gal. 6:9) Doing good without recognition or reward is not only a discipline, it takes courage. Courage to believe that the good I am doing is worthwhile—even if I am the only one who believes it is so. The harvest may not come for years–if at all–but I trust that God’s timing is best. And I practice. God has given me many small and large opportunities, through the years, to practice this discipline. In the midst of church struggles, I’ve had the opportunity to be Christ like, even when others were being hateful. I’ve had the opportunity to love a person when they were trying to discredit me. I’ve had the opportunity to treat my family well when they were irritable. I’ve had many opportunities; my success in those opportunities is directly correlated with how much I am leaning into God. There have been so many times I have said “I can’t do this, Lord. It’s too hard.” Yet God continues to give me what I need when my desire is to be God’s instrument.

This past weekend I led a retreat for about a dozen of our Lipscomb employees, board members, and spouses. It has been in my heart to do so since I came here three years ago. There were times when I threw up my hands and quit. I just could not get any traction. But the idea did not go away and I would pick it up again. This weekend it finally came together. It was not earth shattering or grand, but the people were there who were meant to be there and I know they were blessed by the time with God. It obviously was God’s timing that it occurred when it did and in the group that was brought together.

God is faithful. God’s role is to water and bring in the harvest. My role is to be faithful to being available for God’s use. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Grace and peace to you,

Jackie

Jackie L. Halstead, Ph.D., LMFT
Managing Director, ICS
lipscomb.edu/ics
https://twitter.com/JackieLHalstead

Unity of the body of Christ

You have been raised in one faith family and discovered that another way of understanding captures you. You sense the conflict, rationalize the outcome.

You are aware of the poor. You feel the tug that says, ” Do something. Make a difference.” And you are overwhelmed by the need, unsure of the next steps, unable to determine which situation is most worthy of your attention.

You are caught in the despair of the disenfranchised. You understand the anger and vow to work for change.

Hallelujah! Really…hallelujah! God is at work. In you. Through you.

These nudges of conflict, indecision and promise are sparks that light passion fires.

God is at work. In us. Through us. Challenged by the things we allow to separate us, we are moved toward Christ and enabled to build unity.

“He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. His purpose was to equip God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge of God’s Son. God’s goal is for us to become mature adults—to be fully grown, measured by the standard of the fullness of Christ. As a result, we aren’t supposed to be infants any longer who can be tossed and blown around by every wind that comes from teaching with deceitful scheming and the tricks people play to deliberately mislead others. Instead, by speaking the truth with love, let’s grow in every way into Christ, who is the head. The whole body grows from him, as it is joined and held together by all the supporting ligaments. The body makes itself grow in that it builds itself up with love as each one does their part. Ephesians 4:11-16

Healthy Discipline


Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over. But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline; don’t sulk under his loving correction. It’s the child he loves that God corrects; a father’s delight is behind all this. Proverbs 3:5

Another one of my “first of the year” initiatives is to renew my vow to daily disciplined listening for and reflection of the Holy. This is the easy part. The next step is to discover what parts of scripture, what literature I will use to lead me. This is the interesting part. The hurdle, the really difficult part isn’t keeping with the discipline…it is the listening to and acting on the self-discoveries God leads me to.

I really do not want to know about all the mis-steps I make in being a child of God. I would much rather see the parts of my character that show how successful I am in life. Isn’t this the crux? Until I am ready to confront my sin, there’s very little change made, very little truth I can understand.

Thank God the instructions are, “Don’t try this by yourself.”