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  Our culture is big on the idea of personal fulfillment and yet I do not find that the scriptures are supportive of this concept. Perhaps it ties into Jesus's idea of losing yourself to be found.


Weekly Reflection: Pastor Dana Reardon
May 22, 2006

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Personal fulfillment versus fulfilling God's purposes

I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be stewards of the mysteries of God.  We talk a lot in stewardship circles about using our gifts.  And each of us has great gifts that can be used for the glory of God.  But the Gospel is a greater gift and all the others are in service to it.

Here is what I mean: Imagine Jonah being called to go to Ninevah.  It appears that he made his decision not to go based either on fear or his hatred for the Ninevites.  but imagine the rationalizations that could go on.  I don't speak the language.  Someone else has been given the gift of languages.  I have these other gifts that would be best served by going somewhere else and doing something that I am good at.  I will feel more fulfilled personally.

So is the using of our gifts about personal fulfillment, or about fulfilling the purposes of God? It really doesn't seem that God was worried about Jonah's feeling fulfilled or happy or meeting his full potential.  God had a job for Jonah that served God's purposes and  saved a people he didn't even care about.  In fact he was angry that God spared them.

And think about Moses.  He knew he did not have the particular gifts necessary to do the job of talking to the Pharaoh.  And he had already made his choice to leave Egypt and live in the desert.

Our culture is big on the idea of personal fulfillment and yet I do not find that the scriptures are supportive of this concept. Perhaps it ties into Jesus's idea of losing yourself to be found.

We discover as we grow into our faith and are called to be stewards that there is even greater fulfillment in serving the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I believe that if we are faithful we will be struggling our whole lives to hear that call and  discern what is God's will for us personally and for the people among whom we are called to serve.

Lord, Help me to learn that there  is no greater fulfillment than being a small part of the greatest love that ever was.  Amen

 

Copyright 2006, The Rev. Dana Reardon. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Email her at mspastor@aol.com.



The Rev. Dana Reardon is pastor at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Warwick, RI.  A lifelong Lutheran, she came to ordained ministry after 21 years in nursing, mostly in pediatric intensive care.  She graduated from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia in 1998 and served 4 years in Upstate New York before becoming a New Englander.  She is still trying to understand the accent.  While in the Upstate New York Synod she chaired the Stewardship Team.  That began her fascination with what makes stewards -- and more, what makes for generosity. She has three amazing daughters: Pastor Reardon says much of what she knows of life she learned from them.