One advantage of growing older, or I should maybe use the word “maturing”, is that one can look back and learn from mistakes and bad decisions that were made. There are no “do overs” in life, you just hope that you learned from the bad experiences of the past.
1. Value people and places
I have moved our family from London, Ontario to Grand Rapids, Michigan to Edinburg, Texas to Buenos Aires, Argentina back to Edinburg, to Montreal, to Tillsonburg, Ontario to Calgary Alberta and to wherever the next stop is. Each of those places holds significant people, experiences, and memories for us. Also, each of them could have been much longer, deeper, richer and more satisfying stays.
What I know now is that one must dig his roots deep in the soil in order to reap satisfying results. We left places before they began to really turn the corner in a positive manner. I did not see what I had in terms of deep relationships with people and congregations. I took that way too lightly.
2. The Momentary vs the Enduring
When I was younger I put more stock into the appeal of the next thing than I did into being faithful in the current assignment. I allowed others to speak into my life saying how bad the current situation is. Instead of hunkering down and ignoring those voices I allowed them to sow seeds of bitterness and “the grass is greener” mentality. How could I allow that to happen? Why didn’t I shut down those thoughts before they got too carried away in my mind, and especially in my heart.
The enduring ministry is that God can work in spite of the negative things we see around us. There is a greater ministry that God has called us to, there are people who are cheering you on that you become blind to when you focus on the negative.
3. God is Faithful
Forgive me if I get carried away in this post. It is part confession and part therapeutic on my part. Do I wish I had made better decisions? Of course I do! I would long to be in those places to see the Lord turn things around! All of those places where we have been have experienced tremendous growth and blessing from God. If I would have faithfully planted myself and not listened to the negative voices, I would be able to see that God is faithful to His work, be it the church or the theological training school.
In each of the places we have been there are wonderful friends who are brothers and sisters in Jesus. I love them deeply and my life is a compilation of their contributions to my life. I am eternally grateful for the Alejandro’s, the Alex’s, the Wilson’s, the Austin’s, the Fuller’s, the Michael’s, the Ferguson’s and the countless others who have made invaluable contributions to my life.
The story of our life and ministry is not over yet. My prayer is that the Lord would grant us many more years of faithfully serving Him.
For His Glory,
Pastor Bill Finch