Wisconsin February was cold. Face freezing cold. I simply wanted the wind chill to stay above 0 degrees Fahrenheit. I longed for a thaw to be able to savor a warm breeze during my long runs. Admittedly, my hopes were too small—avoiding frostbite is hardly thriving in life.
When it comes to ministry, our default hopes are often too small. We hope that our church will have a higher attendance than last year, that the sermons will be better than average, that offerings will cover our expenses, that Aunt Sally does not ask embarrassing questions of the visitors in the back pew, that no one notices the social media posts of ‘that guy’ in the church.
These are not the worst of hopes, but they are certainly not hopes that cause us to thrive. Our life-giving hopes aim at being restored for a purpose. We are not simply looking for a fix to what is uncomfortable, but we are seeking to be a blessing to our community. We desperately desire to be God’s instrument in actively advancing His Kingdom – from the family next door to the ends of the earth.
Our Conference memory verse from President Kevin Butler for March is Isaiah 40:31 –
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
This is the sort of restoration that we long for—a God inspired renewal that positions us to be used for His good purposes. And, His good purposes necessarily mean more than a restoration for our own benefit. Our hope of restoration is ultimately aimed at bringing God glory and blessing those He calls us to serve and minister to.
There will be more cold days ahead. Let’s remember and celebrate how God has restored us in the past, and expectantly ask that he continue to renew us into the future. But let’s not stop there—let’s ask Him to guide us in living out our purpose. Today. Tomorrow.
And, let’s act on purpose. Together.