I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)
I do a lot of ministry coaching and I find that often people who I am coaching feel a bit overwhelmed about the possibilities that lie ahead. Someone I was coaching today was really struggling last month with a few things that just weren’t coming together very well. We thought the issues through, developed some ideas to make course corrections, and he got to work on them.
Today we met again and he shared what he has been working on since we last talked. Three things that all looked doomed last month have all taken place and came out well. He works on a synod staff so has responsibility for working with a couple hundred Lutheran congregations. One thing he was thinking of cancelling because only two people were registered, we reworked the publicity for. The event happened and there were 52 people present! And the event was transformational for people. The majority of people who came were young adults and new leaders in the church. He was thrilled.
One of the keys to our work together is being willing to be hopeful for each other. Sometimes, I have too little hope about how things are going and what the possibilities are. When that is the case, I am blessed to have the friendship and support of others who can see what I have lost sight of. Their hope buoys me and I am able to do things that I might have given up on otherwise.
Part of our sharing together in the body of Christ is the responsibility we have to each other. We KNOW that God is at work in and with us in all that we do. Sometimes we need to reframe our work, refocus our minds, and reprogram our attitudes in order to better serve as God’s agents in the world.
The above verse, which has been our verse of the month, is a reminder that Paul started with trusting that God was at work in the lives of the people of Philippi. He begins by encouraging them in the opening chapter of his letter. Reminding people that God is at work in their lives is the basis for helping them see God at work and learn new things about God.
So here are questions for you. How hopeful are you about God’s promise to work in your life and the lives of others around you? How often do you share an encouraging word with others? And when you see God working in someone’s life, how open are you to sharing a word about what you see or offering a thank you for the work you see?
Paul learned to speak words of encouragement and hope (and in doing so helped change the world and start the church). How can we learn from him and change lives around us, too?