WESTERN RESERVE DISTRICT
Whether you live in the north or not, the grey, dreary days of winter can be a challenge. Add in snow and ice and howling winds … it may seem easiest to hibernate until spring. Yet hibernation doesn’t work for everyone.
I read a tweet recently: Wherever you go, regardless of the weather, take sunshine.
Our attitude and determination are essential to facing the challenges of our lives. Paul wrote to the Philippians …. “For I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (4:11 – 14)
The Apostle Paul wasn’t challenged by the frozen tundra of northern Ohio, but he had his fair share of challenges. Yet in spite of it all … actually in the midst of all things … he found strength in Christ. He models a faithful life, and challenges us to do the same.
This winter, I’ve been reading Ann Voskamp’s, The Broken Way. Among her many illustrations and insights she writes, “The best way to de-stress is to bless.” She tells of facing a difficult day by taking her children on a blessing outing. They sought to love on others, be kind and considerate … in abundance … and they had a wonderful day. Sometimes we make blessing and abundance too difficult.
I helped a woman at the grocery store recently find an item in the frozen food section. She was so grateful … she told me that her husband recently died ... and she has trouble cooking for one … and she cried … and apologized … and moved on. I circled back around the aisle, convinced I needed to invite her to our house for dinner. But I didn’t find her. She was gone. Sometimes we make blessing and abundance about our time frames and convenience.
The work of the Church is difficult. We live in a changing culture, an uneasy environment, and a growing population of folks who don’t seem to care that a local church “always did it this way.” It seems that even churches are tempted to hibernate. How do we care for the brokenness all around us? Sometimes we make blessing and abundance about us … and not about Jesus.
So I encourage you to offer Jesus.
Be the people Jesus calls us to be … by offering hope and kindness and love. Don’t wait for everything to be convenient. Don’t withhold from those who are most broken and most vulnerable. Don’t work to figure out the easiest way or the most familiar way.
You may change someone’s day … and brighten your own. Sometimes we can offer a blessing and experience life, abundant and full. Even in the winter …
Grace and Peace,
Western Reserve District Office:
Rev. Sondra Snode
71 North Park Place
Office Hours: Monday through Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
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