Monday, April 4, 2016

"The Best Laid Schemes...

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. 
...o' mice an' men Gang aft a-gley." Part of a poem by Robert Burns called, "To a Mouse." (See
How true of the best laid plans we are prone to make. In my life and ministry I have had many disappointments.  Were it not for the Word of God in my life, I don't know how I would have been able to handle them. The Bible says in James 4:13-15, "Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that." It has truly been a comfort to me that I can yield my will to the Lord Jesus.

Psa 127:1 says, "Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain." The Lord Jesus is the ultimate builder of His house.  I remember well that day coming home on the bus from my job in Portland. I had been silently mulling over the the three or so years we had been trying to get a church started. For those three preceding years my congregation had been mostly my wife and children. Sometimes my mother or my in-laws had lived with us too. But we had not seen anyone baptized in Jesus name and I was pretty discouraged. I silently talked to the Lord Jesus, as I got off the bus, and said to Him if He thought me a success, whatever men might think, I was a success. Contrary-wise, if He didn't consider our efforts successful, even were we to establish a large church, we would not be successful. It was shortly after that that we had our first baptism.

I resigned that church and another man came in my place. When I left off being pastor, we had between about 45 and 55 average attendance. We supported about 23 or so missionaries, and had a substantial amount of money in the bank. We had baptized around 40 people in Jesus saving name, many of whom are still living for God (as far as we know). The worst thing one could say of me is that I was a mediocre pastor, but that I was a good manager and faithful. That church, by the way, no longer exists. (See Psalm 127:1)

Pastor friend and Saint of God, don't let your apparent failures get you down. The Lord Jesus never fails. I love an old chorus we used to sing in church. It goes like this,
     Jesus never fails
     Jesus never fails
     Heaven and earth shall pass away, 
     but Jesus never fails
By the same token, don't let your apparent success go to your head. Another chorus comes to mind:
     Remember only what you do for Christ will last,
     Remember only what you do for Christ will last,
     Only what you do for Him, will be counted in the end,
     Remember only what you do for Christ will last.
Ah! The plans  we make often, "Gang aft a-gley."

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