1 Thessalonians 3:8 For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.
I like this verse for two reasons. The first is that it displays a true pastor’s heart. As I wrote yesterday, pastoral ministry isn’t something for the faint-hearted. It can be really hard work, but the rewards can also be rich. Knowing that your spiritual children are doing well goes a long way toward making all the effort worth it. And that brings me to the second reason I like this verse. It is a perfect illustration of a Japanese expression that doesn’t really translate well into English. Ikigae means, “a reason to live, a reward for living.” The NIV tries to express that with “really live,” but I think the original Greek idiom must be a direct equivalent of the Japanese. We all need a reason to get up in the morning, a reason to keep at the mundane and often thankless tasks of life. For a parent, that is often seeing your children do well, particularly if they are grateful to you in the process. The same is certainly true for spiritual parents and children. Whatever “bucket lists” we might have, we all have to come to the place of realizing we will never accomplish everything we had dreamed of. When our children go on to accomplish things we could never have done, that is more than enough accomplishment for a true parent, biological or spiritual.
Naturally, this applies to me as well. I am genuinely proud of and pleased with my daughters, and I get immense satisfaction in seeing spiritual growth in them and in my strictly spiritual children. Yesterday was a really good day, even though we had technical difficulties in the recording of the service. That sort of thing can really put me in a bad mood at times, but it faded to unimportance as I was aware of the good things God is doing in this congregation, in those He is bringing in and in those who have been here a long time. God is faithful, and participating in what He is doing is more than enough reason to live.
Father, thank You indeed for yesterday and all it held. Thank You for Your plans for today as well. Help me rest, relax, and rejoice in You, accomplishing Your will on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!