Today’s Reading: John 10:11 (NIV)
[Jesus said,] “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
I couldn’t help but feel the presence of our Good Shepherd this weekend, as clergy spouses from all over the State of Missouri gathered together for our annual weekend retreat. We set apart a time each year to laugh, to cry, to renew old friendships and meet brand new faces. We are the hands and feet standing beside those who serve in pastoral ministry in the Missouri Area Conference. This year’s theme was “Connecting the Dots of Our Lives.” I left there feeling very connected to my brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.
One of my friends painted a poignant visual image of how clergy spouses serve as Moses’ Aaron, holding up the arms of the one who is called to serve, especially in times of great fatigue and distress. Everyone brought their family pictures to share. We told funny stories of our children and grandchildren and spent a lot of time simply laughing together. We talked about some of the challenges we face in serving local congregations. We told how the many precious blessings of serving the Lord in the local church has enriched our lives. We are a diverse group, ranging in stages from newly married clergy spouses to retired and widowed servants of the Lord. The dots of our lives are intricately connected in the love of Christ.
At the close of our retreat, my friend Esther, our Bishop’s wife, made a profound statement of faith that was truly a take-away moment for me. She said, “God can make a work of art out of your life, even when the dots do not make sense.” So often, we look at where we’ve been, wonder where we are headed, and wonder whether our picture will reveal God’s plan and purpose for us today. We examine the points of our lives like one may look at a painting prominently displayed in a local art gallery. Created in the rich technique and colors of Pointalism, we rely upon our eye and brain coordination to blend the dots into something meaningful that we can truly relate to.
Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” The Good Shepherd is our master artist. It is His love that draws the dots of our lives together and brings rich meaning to daily living. When we keep our eyes focused on Jesus, the dots begin to blend into a picture we can understand. They intersect with each other, as we find a strong connection while serving the people God has called us to love.
This is a great day to begin connecting the dots of your life with those around you. Won’t you come and worship the Lord with me this morning at Faith Church? My life’s picture is incomplete without you in it. Jesus Christ connects the dots of our lives together in faith. We are His perfect portrait in progress.
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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