Present with you
“…I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.” Col. 2:5
The Apostle was always on the move and never stayed in one place for a very long time, yet he seemed to be rather “omnipresent” as far as his spirit was concerned. No matter where he was, his constant care and thoughts were for God’s church everywhere, and his parish appeared to cover the entirety of Asia Minor and the far corner of Europe. After a church had been planted through his tireless labor, his heart would never depart from there ever though he might have left the church physically. He truly loved God’s church and his affection for God’s people was undeniable.
Paul appeared to have possessed a pastoral heart that I have found wanting in myself throughout the years. In fact, I am actually rather ashamed to be called “pastor.” I am no shepherd to the flock in the small congregation I have been pastoring for the past twenty-five years. One thing that puzzles me a great deal has always been why in the world God hasn’t removed me from the position.
As a matter of fact, I am about to remove myself from the post. Well, the Lord is removing me in a couple of months to be more exact. Yet twenty-five years is simply far too long to be wasted on my own negligence and lack of motivation. There hasn’t been a single day during this period that I ever felt that I was doing my job to the best of my ability. I have been serving more like a hired man than a faithful servant of God.
Indeed, Paul’s every word only serves as a reminder of how short I have fallen as a minister of the gospel and how unfaithful I have been. There is no more opportunity to redeem myself since I will be retiring, and what has been composed by my own hand will never be erased. The ship has already sailed.
“I will soon be a retired pastor, but I will never tell when I am asked,” I said to my wife.
“What will you tell people, then,” she became curious.
“Well, I will just tell people that I used to teach a little, write a little, and preach a little. That’s all.” Surely my life can be summed up perfectly with this word, just a little bit. I have led my life on such a small scale that there will be nothing to show when I appear before the throne. I am merely a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and it doesn’t amount to anything at all.
The only comfort that I will still have, ultimately, is the Lord Jesus and his precious blood, and his amazing grace that says all my deficiencies and shortcomings, all my imperfection and my sins, have all been forgotten and forgiven. Isn’t this quite enough?