Scripture

Ecclesiastes 3: 1 - 14

1  There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2     a time to be born and a time to die,

    a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3     a time to kill and a time to heal,

    a time to tear down and a time to build,

4     a time to weep and a time to laugh,

    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5     a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

6     a time to search and a time to give up,

    a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7     a time to tear and a time to mend,

    a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8     a time to love and a time to hate,

    a time for war and a time for peace.

9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

Reflection

On April 30, I retired from my position at First Methodist Mansfield, having served in our Mission ministries for 24 years. I cannot begin to express the impact that serving this great church in this capacity has had on my life over these years.  I have been blessed by the powerful witness of saints in our church, our community, and around the world, in ways that have strengthened my own faith and given me incredible glimpses into the Kingdom of God in our midst.

The decision to retire has been a difficult one, and has been a months’ long, prayerful process. That time of prayer and processing has revealed a certain truth and brought peace in my decision. God is giving me a new season in my life. A time to serve, but not to lead. One of the great lessons I have learned in these years is that there is a time for letting go. It is how God renews and regenerates His children and His church. And it is a good thing. In the past, when I have been faithful to following where I felt God’s calling, He has always been faithful to reveal His greater plans. I trust that He is now preparing a great blessing for me, for this church and for His Kingdom.

I will be forever grateful to this church for trusting me and supporting me in leading our mission ministries. And I will be forever grateful for the church’s unequivocal support during my recent time of cancer treatment and recovery. 

Recently, Pastor Tina asked if I would like to write some of the First 15 devotionals and, since that’s not the craziest thing Tina and I have gotten into over the years, I agreed.  Over the coming week, I will be sharing a few of the insights, experiences, and challenges that have shaped my journey thus far. I pray that you each find nuggets of truth and grace that inform and enrich your own journey.  

First Methodist is my home and you are all my family. I look forward to continuing to serve in this body of faithful disciples of Jesus Christ who love God, love others, and serve the world.

Prayer

Loving God, you have indeed made everything beautiful in its own time. Thank you for the beauty of each season of our lives. Help us to celebrate your presence and provision, in seasons of great struggle as well as in seasons of great joy. Help us to trust your perfect will and lean into your wisdom. And help us to be faithful to your calling as you lead us into each new season. Amen