I relate most often to middle-of-the-road perspectives. It’s not that I can’t make up my mind or don’t know what I want to do. No, I can’t help but think there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.
We get that idea from Ecclesiastes. If we didn’t know it came from the Bible, we might’ve given credit to the Beatles. Or we would have thought it was in some handbook for baccalaureate speakers to recite. But the aged man of wisdom in Ecclesiastes knows something about life.
I’m grateful I have true conservative-thinking friends. And I’m grateful for my liberal-leaning friends. They both inform me. They both challenge me. In their own ways, they both make me more liberal and less conservative, less liberal and more conservative. Maybe I’m just a confused soul.
But what I find they teach me is what I read from Ecclesiastes. There are times to hold on. There are times to be more open. The hard part of life is not so much sticking to your guns, but knowing when it may be time to concede your go-to perspective.
I was listening to a podcast this week discussing the US child poverty rate. It just hit a 50-year low! Who gets the credit for that? Well, conservatives do if you ask them. Liberals do if you turn their direction. There have been liberal and conservative policies put into place at various times. The reality is both probably added to this victory in some way. Now if we could just get them to agree to that!
Clearly, I’m not political pundit. But this conversation is helpful for ministry as well.
When Jesus sent out the twelve apostles, they had a specific mission. They were not to go to the gentiles. Does that mean Jesus didn’t want gentiles to know the love of God? No. It just wasn’t time for that message to reach them. But it was coming. The bulk of Jesus’ ministry was to the Jewish people. Later, though, he sent his apostles into all the world.
In sharing the kingdom of God and reaching a new generation, what is God asking us to do today? The mission and message is the same, of course. But, in ministry, there is a time to breathe in and a time to breathe out. We suffocate if we only stick to one path. It takes patience and wisdom to know just how the Holy Spirit is leading us right now. Sometimes you hold fast to what you know is tried and true. Other times you have to go extremely beyond your comfort zone. How do you make that a practice in your ministry?