I have an announcement to make. It may shock some people and might be unpopular with others. Are you ready? Here goes…
I am not perfect. Gasp!
I know! Shocker right! (please read sarcasm into that)
Over the past few months the church has been preparing for our Lest We Forget concert which is held outdoors at the fairgrounds here in Crawford County. Being an outdoor concert, the weather always is a contributing factor that determines whether the concert is performed or cancelled. This year it is being cancelled due to inclement weather.
Good or bad, that is the truth of the matter. Reality check – there has been a lot of work poured into preparation for this concert. There has been time spent in advertising, organizing, making phone calls, lining people up, technical meetings, hours of rehearsals, building sets, writing orchestrations, raising funds…I could go on, but you get the point.
There are one of two ways I could look at this news. I could look at this announcement and see all that work, effort and time just flushed away. Or I could choose to look at the situation with a slightly different perspective.
[beautifulquote align=”right” cite=”When I was a programmer, I never had problems with code. I had opportunities to improve code!”][/beautifulquote]I’ll bet at this point you are wondering how and what this has to do with me not being perfect. I’m glad you asked! Let me share something with you God taught me a month ago through this whole process of getting ready for Lest We Forget. Keep this thought in mind: I look at myself as a piece of furniture that God is continually in the process of restoring. I may be sanctified, but I still have places where God needs to sand on me a little and smooth out. This was one of those times.
I will admit – I am a sound guy, but I am no music guy. You start talking about G minors, B flats, and crescendos and you will get an empty blank stare – ‘Cause that’s all thats up there in that moment – it’s all empty and blank! It’s about like me trying to explain screen resolution or Facebook to a minister of music (there is a joke there!) I simply don’t understand music and likely never will. And because I don’t get it, the temptation is to allow that to transfer itself to NOT having as much passion.
That being stated, let me be transparent and admit that a month ago I was not feeling the fire about the Lest We Forget project. I remember a conversation after a Sunday afternoon rehearsal of just sharing with Keith some frustrations and discouragements I was having. Most of it was my fault. I was not prepared like I should have been for rehearsal – and not because I didn’t have the time. It was because I simply did not come into the rehearsal with the same passion and fire that Keith had.
It can be said that I shouldn’t beat myself up over that after all, I’m not a minister of music. I’m a geek and a children’s pastor. Get me talking about either one of those topics and you’ll hear the fire in my voice.
But therein lies the source of contention I had within myself.
I’m passionate about what gets me fired up! That’s the way most of us are. And that’s OK! What I discovered through the process of preparation for Lest We Forget was that I do not have to be passionate about music like Keith is in order to be passionate about the purpose of the project!
See the difference?
It is reduced down to why I do Children’s Ministry or the geek stuff. And that why is Jesus! I am passionate about moving people from a no relationship status to a relationship with Jesus or helping them move closer to Jesus. That is the common denominator for all of us. Within that context I can be passionate and have the right passion and energy in any ministry project! Jesus is central in all of it.
I do not expect many of you to relate to this. This experience was very personal to me. It was something that God used to teach and chisel me closer to the likeness of His Son. My point in sharing it was that in all circumstances we can learn. We do not always understand the circumstances. And if we are really honest, we’re horrible at trying to interpret them simply because we cannot see beyond them.
One of my favorite verses in Scripture is Romans 8:28. It reminds me of how God’s timing is perfect and how ingenious He is at working all things for the good. Let’s take a quick walk through Romans 8:28.
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (NIV)
We need to make a separation of sorts here. A divorce if you will. God is working all things to good. All the work that God does is good. That does not mean that everything is good. The rain and thunderstorms are not good in light of the concert.
Look at the word ‘works’ in the verse. In the NASB the word used is ‘causes’ while in the NRSV it is ‘together’. They are the same Greek word transliterated to sunergeo. It means to be a fellow worker, to cooperate with, to work together, to aid, to assist. It is an active working together to attain a result. The events and circumstances may not be good themselves, but the results are God’s good handiwork. The word sunergeo should look a little familiar to us. It is where the word synergy is derived from. To synergize is the interaction of more than one entity working in cooperation to produce a result that is greater than the sum of what could be accomplished separately.
Simply stated, God is partnering with those events (good or bad) as well as ourselves as His people to bring about good. All throughout Scripture God does this. He takes events happening all around His people (most of those events are NOT good) and works them together with His people for good – often times as teaching tools.
On the outside, the cancellation of Lest We Forget may seem as though it is a loss. I disagree on the premise that Romans 8:28 is inerrant – that is – as part of Scripture, it is incapable of being wrong. And that verse says, God works together (events & His people that love Him) for good.
Does my sharing make sense now? Yes the concert did not happen, but that absolutely does NOT mean that God did not use it. I simply had to give Him permission to use it and teach me. I mentioned my personal sanding session, but I would be remiss if I did not mention that through the preparation process for the concert I became a better sound guy. I learned more about the technical side of sound. I made tweaks and adjustments. I learned more about organization and pulling teams together. I gained a better understanding of how to delegate more effectively. And I rubbed shoulders with and talked to people I wouldn’t have otherwise had it not been for preparations for the concert.
Am I getting my point across?
When I was a programmer, I never had problems with code. I had opportunities to improve code! I challenge you then – not just in light of Lest We Forget, but beyond it as well, to seek God’s goodness in all circumstances as opportunities to improve and become more like His Son. We may not always understand those circumstances and events, but God never promised we’d always understand. He did however promise to always partner with us to work them out for our good. His desire is for us to grow and thrive even in the not so good events.
So let’s do that! I’m all in! How about you? Let’s grow and thrive together as God partners with us!