(January 18, 2022) Wayne Swift shares on realistic matters…
I can recall entering 2021 with a sense of optimism regarding the impact of covid-19. I thought we were through the worst of it. It didn’t turn out that way.
As we begin 2022, I simply don’t carry that same optimism but am rather realistic about our prospects. In an investment sense you might say I have downgraded expectations!
Plans are tentative and my hopes focus more on wellbeing than on activities. I do think of the health system and the many faithful people working under extreme pressures, they need our support, patience and prayers.
1. The church’s task is uncompromised!
What I am optimistic about is the God’s sovereignty and our ability to persevere. Jesus’ words remain the same, ‘I will build my church.’
We may be experiencing difficult times but compared to many other periods of history, things are still relatively peaceful and prosperous.
In Luke 13:20-21, Jesus gave us a realistic explanation of His expectations… ‘What else is the kingdom of God like? It is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.’
The church’s task remains the same…
- Like yeast we ought to permeate society, doing good and bringing good news.
- In the midst of the challenges, we can give hope to those around us.
- God loves us, watches over us and calls us to act for one another.
- Our gatherings may have been impacted but our ability to call, connect and care is in no way compromised and the support people really need can be an opportunity for the church to fill.
I can remember a minister many years ago stating clearly with regard to reaching people, ‘Find a need and fill it.’
2. The church’s priority is still people
Be encouraged, God is on our side, He is with us and within us. His purpose hasn’t changed, He hasn’t compromised or changed tack, so don’t let discouragement sap your hope.
If there’s one thing that is happening in many churches it’s strong voices are rising and demanding their way. Without realising it ‘godly’ people are bringing disunity and division because their opinions have become ‘truth’ and anyone opposed to their opinion suffers their disdain!
Church leaders need to exercise great discernment to handle respectfully all involved, there is the potential for a split within our churches. Appeal to the greater good: our Christian values and principles should temper our strong opinions and work towards unity.
The apostle Paul on one occasion said, ‘Why not rather be wronged’ (1 Corinthians 6:7). A little inconvenience and additional tolerance will help in remedying the situation in most circumstances, but not all.
Persevere patiently and may God bless your efforts!
Find joy in your service, celebrate each small advance, and…
remember the people are always our priority as we serve God.
Wayne Swift is National Leader, Acts Global Churches Australia . He and his wife, Ruth, pastor Resound Church, Scoresby, Victoria.