September 8, 2021
Perhaps you have heard it said, “sometimes, you have to look over your shoulder to see how much of the field has been plowed.”
In my previous life, I worked in the welding and atmospheric gas industries. I used this analogy with my coworkers and fellow employees when we sat down to plan our goals for the upcoming year. Those conversations took time to carefully weigh through all the reasons why our choices and decisions would be made; some of the reasons were within our control, others were not.
All these conversations led us to the same central point, telling our stories. Every decision made resulted from us telling the stories of our encounters, both good and challenging, and through that sharing, we worked together as a group to articulate what we felt was the best outcome.
In the secular world, we would call this strategic thinking and goal planning. Using slightly different language that is rooted in faith, we would claim this as discernment. We are listening for the many ways God is guiding us through our life stories when we discern.
Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Trust is hard; it means letting go of our control and allowing the Spirit to lead us where we are called to go. A colleague shared her love for the Jonah story. Jonah was resilient to his call from God. He ran from God, only to have God redirect his path back toward Nineveh, where God poured out mercy and grace.
At the end of the story, God appoints a worm to do God’s work. The point of this story was to demonstrate that if God can call upon a worm to help in the work, why wouldn’t God also call on us to be a part of God’s story.
We need to slow down and look over our shoulders to see how we have plowed the field. We don’t always recognize how and where God is leading us, using us, and calling us into the work together, but we do it together. We know it is being done faithfully when we are doing it together.
What is your story? Where do you feel God is calling to you today? Where do you feel connected in our church’s story? If you don’t have a church home, what is preventing you from being a part of one?
What field have you been plowing, and can you stop for a while to look over your shoulder to see the work that has been done? I pray you to find peace and rest in your thoughts, trust that God is walking on this path with all of us.
Pastor Chad Rademacher
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Sidney