“Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing …” ~ Genesis 12:1-2
Life is a journey. As Christians, we believe that journey started with the creation of the world. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve walked and talked with God. Sin caused their journey to head in a direction neither they nor God had intended. Nevertheless, the journey continues. That’s the thing about journeys. They almost never turn out the way one expects. Sometimes we take a wrong turn and arrive someplace totally unplanned but wonderful. Sometimes we have car trouble but because of it we meet someone we never expected to meet but are glad we did. Sometimes the road is full of potholes, while at other times it’s smooth sailing for miles and miles. Sometimes we find ourselves in need of assistance and, to our great surprise, help arrives in a timely manner. Sometimes the weather turns bad and we have to stay put for a while. The list goes on and on. Church life is no different. It’s a journey. The Church started its journey when Jesus came to earth and continues to head towards its destination . . . the completion of God’s kingdom.
Along the way, in every generation, things happened to God’s people. Sometimes those things brought God’s people joy while at other times it sent God’s people into despair. Sometimes it took God’s people to a mountain high and at other times it sent God’s people to a valley low. Sometimes they set challenges before God’s people while at other times they provided happy surprises, etc. Whatever good or bad thing came along, the important thing was God’s people never quit . . . never turned back . . . because the future of God’s people is not behind us but before us. To get there we must always keep moving forward.
Once upon a time, God called Moses to lead a people he didn’t know, on a road he had never traveled, to a place he had never been. Along the way the people began to feel uncomfortable . . . scared. At one point their fear was so great Moses thought they were going to stone him. But every time the fear of the people got the best of them, God showed them they were not alone on their journey . . . that He was with them. And, in God’s time, the people arrived at the border to the Promised Land.
As God was with the people of Israel as they followed a leader they didn’t know, on a road they had never traveled, to a place they had never been, so God is with the people of United Presbyterian Church. The road is not and will not be an easy one. There have been and will be times when we feel uncomfortable . . . scared. But if we, like the people of Israel, walk in faith and obedience to God . . . if we give of our time, talent, and money to do God’s Will and God’s Work to make disciples . . . if we reach out in love to those we don’t like as well as those we like, blessing others as God blesses us . . . then, in time, we too will arrive at the border of what will be United Presbyterian Church’s Promised Land.
In her book, “What I Know for Sure,” Oprah Winfrey wrote something like this: “If you’re not changing, you’re not growing and if you’re not growing then what are you here for? What’s your purpose?” Are you participating in what Pastor Rick Warren calls, “The Purpose-Driven Life” or have you settled into life in a velvet-lined coffin? Something to think about isn’t it?
God calls His people out of the past, into the present, and on to the future. We are not meant to be who we have been or to remain who we are. We are meant to be who we can and will become with God’s help. The future of United Presbyterian Church rests with those whom God has called as members of His Church. The question is not, “Is God calling you to serve . . . to help grow His kingdom?” The question is, “How are you responding to God’s call?” The journey continues . . .