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Pastoral Reflections- Rev. Mark Keefer, pastor, Garwin United Methodist Church Garwin, Iowa

October 11, 2013
Northern-Sun Print
Have you ever had someone ask you what you hope to get out of life? It’s a comment that many folks make, that they have hoped to ‘get’ something more out of life. I wonder if we are getting things backward, as to our approach to life? I don’t really know if we are supposed to ‘get’ so much out of life, as we were designed more to be giving into life. Getting something seems to imply the idea of taking. If we would like to see improvements to the happiness in our lives, wouldn’t it make more sense if we were giving, or adding, to what can be, rather than taking? I feel we were created to add to life on earth, not just take from it. I know it has happened for me that, at times, it just seems that life hasn’t really been as rewarding as I had initially thought it would be. I start focusing on what my hopes for happiness have been, and I haven’t prayerfully considered what I could be doing to make life more enjoyable for others. In truth, what I find myself doing is focusing on my own problems, rather than focusing on what I could do to help others. If all we do is focus inwardly instead of outwardly, we really limit our options for happiness and vitality. I once heard the interesting analogy about the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. Galilee is a lake full of life and abundance. People have fished that sea for centuries and provided employment, food, and recreation for themselves as well as others. Galilee is full of life because it takes in water but also gives it out. In contrast, nothing lives in the Dead Sea, because it has no outflow. The lake has stagnated. Can’t the same be true for us? We were made by God to make a difference in His world. Too often, we hold ourselves back from service and make excuses, because we think we are lacking in the talents or abilities that can make a difference. However, if we take a look at some of the ‘heroes’ of the Bible, Old and New Testaments, we find people who could be considered too old, or maybe they were insecure. Moses was a stutterer and Gideon was poor. David and Rahab both had their times of immoral living. Jonah was reluctant. John the Baptist was eccentric (to say the least!). Zacchaeus was unpopular, Thomas had his doubts, and Paul had poor health. There are plenty of stories of people who could be considered misfits, but God used each of them to fulfill his plans. If you have ever felt that your life is in the doldrums, and fulfillment is out of reach, try reaching out to others. Volunteer at a local charity or care center. We were created and designed to be of service to others. When we fall away from our true purpose for existence, it is no wonder we fall away from the true happiness and abundant life that we have been promised. Go out and make a difference. And be assured that when you have put your faith in Christ, you never walk alone. Have a great week. See you in church.


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