Finding Peace in This Your Place

fence&fog&sunI’m always intrigued when I read the bio of a best selling author on the flyleaf of his book. Often, the details are brief, usually neglecting references to any family. The most common detail to be found is the place, or places, where the author lives. Why should that be of interest to the reader? For some reason it is.

These thoughts about our place in God’s grand scheme of things are inspired by a book review of Where Mortals Dwell, written by Craig Bartholomew. The review is by Jake Meador (Christianity Today, November 2011). I haven’t read the book, but the review got me to thinking about my place in life.

We’re not omnipresent like our Maker so we’re confined to occupying a certain place. We can change places where we dwell, moving from one place to another, but it’s still a matter of occupying one space at a time.

Sometimes we don’t like where we find ourselves. We feel more like we’re occupying space rather than having found our place. This is not good.

When God calls a person the call is to certain tasks, but it’s also a call to carry out those tasks in a certain place. We can run from God’s place for us, Jonah did, running from Nineveh. God also on occasion forced His people from their place as a form of punishment; it’s called exile. Although God Himself occupies all places at all times He has a certain place for us at any given time.

My place for over 37 years has been pastor of the church I serve. There have been times when I’ve wondered if God wanted me someplace else, but I’ve always come back to the conviction that His call for me is right here where I now am. If I truly believe God has His call for my life, then I must believe He has his place for me to be, and until it becomes clear it is somewhere else then it must be where I now am.

I’ve used a little self-talk and reminded myself that the grass usually is not greener somewhere else and that I would find the same irritating people in a different church; they would just have different faces and names. We can be tempted to lust but we can also be tempted with wanderlust.

A little more self-talk and I remind myself that I’m to affirm with the psalmist that “the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.” (Psalm 16:6) Yes, I need to practice gratitude and identify reasons to give thanks right where I am. My prayer: Lord, help me to find your peace in this my place. Amen.

The Great Shepherd’s Words, or Just Ours?

pastoralgracesbookHere’s another quote from Lee Eclov’s book Pastoral Graces. Again, a great book, from the heart of a pastor, about the heart of us pastors.

“We have a lot in common with the presidential press secretaries. They are expected to stand in front of an audience and speak for the president. They are to say what the president wants said and to explain as the president himself would. But press secretaries get in deep trouble if they say what the president never intended, if they try to make their words his words.

So it is for pastors opening the Bible in sermons, Bible studies, or counseling. Do you ever get so used to speaking for the Lord that you think your own opinions are divinely inspired? There’s a fine line there, but it is a dangerous thing to flash the badge of divine authority for personal use.” (Pastoral Graces, Lee Eclov, Loc 316)