One year ago, our family entered into a new season of life. After moving from Chattanooga to Charleston to enter into the work of a new pastorate, our lives seemed to pick up steam. We adjusted to a new city, a new house, a new church, a new school for our sons, new friends, new responsibilities, and new experiences. It has been a tremendously blessed year. However, it has also been a somewhat difficult transitional season in my life. Blogging, writing theological articles and essays, conference speaking, and podcasting has been a integral part of my ministry throughout the past 14 years. But this new season of life has forced me to substantially slow my pace in regard to those extracurricular ministry aspects.
On one hand, this has been personally difficult. I love serving the church in these ways. I have long found writing theological articles to be one of the most delightful privileges of the life the Lord has meted out to me. Not being able to produce as much has weighed heavily on my heart. On the other hand, this has been a good and necessary season for me. I love serving the local church in which I pastor through preaching, teaching, leadership, discipleship, and development. I love being with my sons at their sporting events and watching sports with them. I love opening our home to church members, neighbors, and friends. I love going for bike rides with my wife. These things have taken a front seat to my desire to engage in theological writing to the extent that I have in the past. I hope that the Lord will give me the time to take on those many ministerial extracurricular activities again; but, for now, I am learnign to be content to produce less in that realm and giving myself more to those other family and ministry priorities.
As I have been reflecting on this reality, I have been reminded of the words of Ecclesiastes 3:1, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” I have especially been drawn to the words “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7). Varying seasons of life are inescapable realities. It is only when we do not find our identity, sense of fulfillment, and usefulness in those things we enjoy doing that we learn to give ourselves fully to those things God calls us to do first and foremost. I have no idea how long this season will last. Perhaps the Lord will give me time to get back to doing the many extracurricular things I love so much again. However, I am learning in the school of God’s providence that this is where I am supposed to be at present.
Learning to embrace the seasons of life that God brings us into is vital if we are going to be useful in this world. We often find it to be difficult because we enjoying doing the things we love. We far too often find our comfort in productivity, accomplishment, creativity, and influence. However, we are meant to find contentment in what God has for us. There is a season for everything, and we must learn to walk through that season with our eyes fixed on what the Lord calls us to do in His service.