First Christian Church | Pittsfield

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Opportunity

12.13.17 | Elder's Corner | by Helen Earls

    I am going to do something I don’t usually do. I am going to repeat an excerpt from an article I wrote in December of 2011. It is very relevant to where we are now so I think it bears repeating.

    I recently read a devotion on the story of the healing of the paralytic in Luke 5: 17-26 and Mark 2:1-12 (Also told in Matt 9:1-8), that really made me think. I have been thinking about it a lot and I thought I would share some of my thoughts with you.

    Most studies deal with the faith of the paralyzed man or the faith of his friends who went to such lengths to get him to Jesus. Then there is the discussion about Jesus authority to forgive sins and why he did that before he healed him. But what has been nagging at me is the story of the homeowner.

    I had never dwelt on this much before, but in Mark it says they dug through the tiles of the ceiling to lower the man into the room in front of Jesus. Now mind you, the entrance was blocked by people, the house was full, and the streets were full of people trying to see this man so many were talking about. It took a lot of determination to get through to get on the roof, let alone get a paralyzed man on a cot up there, and then they had to cut through the tiles of the roof.

    Have you ever thought what a mess that must have made?? What about the costs and efforts of repairing the damage to the roof?? The fact that Jesus chose to go to this man’s house probably tells us all we need to know about this homeowner. But, what about us? What about me?

    How do I respond when the roof caves in on my plans and God drops an opportunity to do His ministry on me?? Do I use the opportunity as God wants me to or do I worry about the mess, the inconvenience, how far behind I will get, what it will cost, etc.?

    I think back on my initial response the day, that busy Christmas season in 2002, when a member of our congregation came to us and said they were going to auction the grocery store across the street and that might be a great opportunity. Now we were already in the middle of plans that would have included a complete renovation and expansion of our existing buildings after the purchase of the lot where our playground now sits. And it was Christmas!! This was our busiest time of year. Well, you know the rest of the story. We took it to the board and then the congregation and a dollar amount was established for the bid which was low and nobody really thought we would get the bid. But, we did and the rest is history. It was not an easy process. It was messy, very messy at times. We dealt with decisions, finances, personality differences, doubts, controversy, and three different pastors. In spite of everything, God was faithful!

    Now that is a big example, but if we all think about it, there are many times in our lives that we think we have a plan, a job, a house, a life, and then the roof caves in and we are faced with someone or something that needs us to respond. How will we respond?

    God is still faithful! Since I wrote that six years ago, we have acquired the admin building also home to Children First. We have paid the mortgage off. We have been given several pieces of property which we are going to be blessings.

    I think we are ready to move forward again on the “building project”. I have no idea what that will look like and God might intervene again with another plan that will drop in on us. I personally wonder if maybe we weren’t quite ready for God’s plan for our church in 2002 and again in 2011 and He wants us to get it right. I think when we come together with the right plan that will be the church for the next 100 years or more, everything will move forward. That will require much prayer, many conversations, much love, occasionally forgiveness, and an open mind.

    I can guarantee you that occasionally God will break through the tiles of our roofs and we must be willing to alter our plans to yield to His. I am excited about what God is doing here and I look forward to what is ahead!

    As we look to Christmas and the celebration of the birth of Jesus, I wish for all of you, a very Blessed Christmas season and a blessed and exciting 2018! God bless you all!

    Love,

    Helen