Dancing in the Light

I John 1:7 "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."

Name:
Location: North Platte, Nebraska, United States

I am a christian wife, mother and grandmother. I am a licensed Social worker and a licensed Christian counselor. I am most proud of the relationships I have with God, my family and friends all over the world. I have been blessed beyond my dreams.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Short-Timers

Change is both difficult and exciting. The contract at our last preaching job required a 3-month notice. So, when after much prayer and thought, Ned decided he wanted to leave and go to school, we gave our respective notices. Ned told the elders, as I told my boss, that we would not "quit" working until our very last day. And we didn't. In fact, our last day, after Ned preached and before we left town, we went to the hospital to visit one of our church member's mother. But it was very difficult to keep "working" when we were excitedly making plans for the next phase of our lives. It was hard to stay focused and give our best when our hearts had already moved on. Had we not had each other to offer support, encouragement and reminders, it would have been even more difficult. But we knew we did not want to be "short-timers".
We have all been exposed to short timers, haven't we? You know the folks --they have decided to quit and already planned to move on to greener pastures. From the moment they make the decision, (whether they have officially given notice or not), both the quality and quantity of their work begins to slide downhill. They usually develop a rebellious, defiant and entittled attitude. "What are they gonna do, fire me?" becomes a favorite phrase. There is no more loyalty to their employer, no more pride in their work and their only motivation is getting out. They have a seeming disregard for their reputation and have forgotten they are still under contract or verbal agreement to give this employer their best.
It seems to me that some who have been in the church for many years have developed "short-timer" syndrome. These short timers are not necessarily elderly, but most of them have been in the church for quite some time. Once, they were really involved, working to bring others to Christ, working to mature and equip the saints, but recently, both the quality and quantity of their "work" has been sliding downhill. They have taught classes before, now they don't. They hosted home Bible-studies, but not anymore. They were involved in benevolence, funeral cares, baby showers, men's business meeting, church committees, door-knocking, etc. but . . . not anymore. "I did all that, now the new people can do it." has become a favorite phrase. They truly believe they are going to heaven. They have done their duties and now they are just sitting on the pew, waiting for the Lord to come, looking to greener pastures.
God, our Employer, our Master, our Redeemer, never intended us to sit and rest, and simply wait for Jesus' return. He wants us to work right up to the moment He comes. He wants us to do everything in our power, by His power, to do His will. (His will according to II Peter 3:9 is that no one should perish). In that very passage He uses words like "make every effort"---implying more than sitting and waiting. He expects us to continue working, continue serving, continue ministering, continue evangelizing, continue praying, continuing to press on, straining toward the prize, to keep fighting the fight, keep running the race, until He returns. Holy Scripture tells us that even Jesus doesn't know when that day will be. But, we know when He comes, He will take us home with Him. Until then, our work on earth is not over. And we don't get to say when it is over--only He does.
We have given our notice, we are looking forward to our new life, our new home, our new job.They say "home is where the heart is" and this world is not our home. But for today, planet Earth is where we work. For today, our focus must be the lostness of the world around us. We cannot quit until our last day here. There should be no "short-timers" in the church, only the hardworking faithful, working for the Lord until time is no more.

Peace
Neva

19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neva,

I just got the chance to read Saturday's post along with today's. Satan is working in the lives of others but God is certainly working in yours. Today's post is one of your best in my opinion. You inspire me with your words. I never want to be a "short timer". :)

Love you! Thanks for your prayers for Butch. I'll keep you posted.

Tammy

10:01 AM  
Blogger His Girl said...

As usual, a wonderful post...and a great reminder!

11:32 AM  
Blogger Monalea said...

Neva,
Good post! It is so easy for me to forget to give my all in every situation. Thanks for the nudge.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous lisa said...

I appreciate this post, but wish I had a way to show it to some of the "short-timers" in my congregation. Not to be overly critical, but one of the things that some of the younger people in our congregation have been most discouraged about is the lack of help from the older members, who think their work is done and don't volunteer to help with anything. I know there is a lot of talent and wisdom among some of our retired folk. I think the entire congregation would benefit with more involvement from them.

I can see the cycle going on and on -- the young people work so hard and eventually get burned out, so when they're older they're not helping the young people, who work and work and eventually get burned out, so when they're older they're not helping the young people ...

And that certainly doesn't mean ALL older members have this attitude, but it is frustrating when it seems it is most of them!

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Martin said...

Very true. I completely agree with you.
Thanks for sharing!

-Martin.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Scotti said...

What a wonderful exhortation! As a friend of mind once said, "God doesn't call us so we can be benchwarmers!". We have to get up and join the (spiritual) fight as a soldier in God's army.
All blessings to you,
Scotti

1:14 PM  
Blogger Bob Bliss said...

Where ya headed?

1:34 PM  
Blogger Don Neyland said...

"Short-timers?" Where'd you pickup that old military term? I've thought about making "Short" patches for preachers to wear when they give notice at a congregation.

OK enough of that. I not only agree with your post 100% but also am a sufferer of short-timers disease from time to time, even as a preacher. I think good number of preachers, particularly old timers, get short-timers quite often.
They do one or more of the following [symptoms]:
[1] Get tired of answering that same question for the 1,000th time.
[2] Get surly and gnarly.
[3] Hide out in their offices
[4] Ride their hobby horse to death.
[5] Go right wing or left wing.

don

3:10 PM  
Blogger TREY MORGAN said...

Neva ... I've always believed that everyone is a minister and ministry is a lifestyle not a job. I want to be a long-timer or a life-timer.

Blessings -

5:57 PM  
Blogger lori said...

What a very excellent post. Amen to you.

6:50 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Household: said...

It is not hard for me to remain constant in doing the work, but it is hard for me to remain doing the work with my full heart into it. I hope that to never be true towards my eternal employer. If God decided to stop short before He was finished with working on me, I would be in trouble.
Kathy

10:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neva,
I remember when we were preparing to leave one work for another. You are so right, it was very difficult to not quit ahead of time. I pray we never do that with our eternal destination.
Thanks for these words.
Rachel

11:34 PM  
Blogger Neva said...

Bob,


HEAVEN!!!!!!


:)
peace
n

12:17 AM  
Blogger Beba said...

True. Very true. We people tend to put our hearts ahead of things that are going to happen. We always strive for more, for better. In those moments, we are not aware what we are leaving behind.
But yes, we have to be aware about the world around us.

2:39 AM  
Blogger Candle (C & L) said...

Neva - Great post - as usual.

One observation I do have is that this discussion remindsme of the guy who always said to the preacher after his sermon "Boy, you really gave it to them to-day". One time due to bad weather he was the only person at service so the the preacher let him have it with both barrels - preaching about everything that he knew that guy needed to hear. After he was done the guy came up to him and said "Boy, you really would have given it to them to-day if they'd been here to hear it!!!"

When I hear lessons on commitment I often do feel "pricked" and look at my failings -- but my nature being what it is I've had to train myself to look at the reality of whether I could really be doing more "church work" and indeed being sure that I'm living by Col 3:23 (my wife's favorite verse) --

I think the real question is "am I living each day doing whatever I have to do with all my might - for the Lord - as his servant?" --and then leave the undone stuff up to God and his Grace. My wife keeps reminding me - "you are not in control - God is"

So in a way I've started "rationalizing" that it's not me who needs to hear this -- and that's not a good thing -- so thanks for the gentle reminder.

On the other hand, my real frustration about presenting this type of lesson is that the message seldom seems to touch those whoseem to need it the most. The truly indifferen, apathetic Sunday morning Christians that try to scrape by with the minimum effort in all of their lives - who live for self-not for Christ --(Maybe I'm being judgemental but that's what I see sometimes) -- anyhow - it's like sermons on giving - they always seem to prick the "widow" to give her mite but not the "Donald Trump's" to give of their surplus.

So (sorryfor taking over your topic)-my question is - how do we avoid "preaching to the converted" when we talk about the need for "walking the talk" every minute of every day" -- of being" long-timers andnot"short-timers>

God Bless
Charlie

p.s Thanks again for coming by

7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I needed this today.. I have just given notice and really had a good attitude about it, but it seems that everyone treats you like a 'shortimer' even if you dont act like one and it seems like things start falling apart at work, making my desire to separate more intense and the grass on the other side looks greener everyday. Thanks for this reminder.
Carlos

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neva,
You have said this so eloquently. We cannot stop working here on earth just because we are focused on eternity.
Good job with this one.
Pat

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I needed this reminder. I get so caught up in the future I forget to live like God in the present.

Thanks
Karli

4:39 PM  
Blogger Neva said...

Charlie,
So good to see you again. In response to your questions, I think we have preached it to those who need to hear it but our actions have spoken louder than our words. So maybe if we lived it, we would'nt have to preach it.
Just a thought.
I really am glad to see you
Peace
n

4:48 PM  

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