Friday, August 01, 2008

On feeling encouraged


Bill at The Old Fart's Blog has given me the great honour of awarding me the Brillante Weblog accolade which he, in turn, has been awarded by Dr John... He says its because I can make him laugh and think - which is one of the most encouraging things I think anyone could ever say about my blog, so many thanks Bill

There's a condition attached, which says that I too must nominate seven blogs to receive the same and say why - though Dr John and Quilly and Bill, three names which would naturally come in those seven have already been nominated, so go visit them anyway as the award is deserved by all three - Bill because of his warmth, thoughtfulness and honesty, Dr John because he always has something good to say and Pigeon Falls is wonderful, Quilly because she is funny and thought provoking....

But with those three out of the running I will scour my links list (to the right) and think again.... More later today!

The second encouragement was probably the most moving and profound thing anyone has ever said to me in ministry, or even in my whole Christian life (I was quite keen on telling people about Jesus even before I was be-collared)....

A parishioner who I have know for four or five years in one of our smallest villages called me to discuss baptising his granddaughter, something I am very happy to arrange. I like this chap and his wife very much, I have enjoyed evenings at parish events nattering away with them and have had a few opportunities to minister to them and to their family over the years. Like many parishioners who have become friends there's a level at which I would love to cultivate my relationship with them further, but time and life in general have not really allowed it. I didn't think I'd done a huge amount over and above being my usual self - ie there was no specific instance which I have helped them through, I've never sat down and just 'talked faith' with them, they are not frequent attenders of the church - though I don't doubt the genuineness of their faith. Yet in response to my telling him that I would like to do this baptism, but that we need to have the service before October because I am moving he said to me...
'My wife is a committed Christian, and I have always had difficulty with faith, but in the time I have known you I have learnt more about true Christianity than at any other time in my fifty-nine years of life. I wish you all the best in your move, but we will sorely miss you'

I was, and am, totally blown away by such kind and encouraging words.

This isn't to 'blow my own trumpet', as it were, but more of a reflection on how 'just getting on with it' in terms of Christian witness, just trying to live faith with integrity and honesty can have a profound effect on other people. I know I am not a 'super-Christian', I make mistakes, I upset some people by being a bit rough edged and others by not being terribly assertive or organised. I frustrate some by being 'evangelical with a liberal edge' and others by being 'liberal with an evangelical edge' (it depends where you stand when you look at me, I guess) and I have re-occuring bouts of 'foot in mouth disease'. I don't claim to be perfect but even in my everyday, relatively normal way I realise I can change people's lives by simply trying to be the person I think God wants me to be, and to follow Jesus in my faltering, sometimes mistaken, sometimes tired, sometimes enthusiastic, sometimes doubting, sometimes hopeful way. More than anything else this should be an encouragement to all of us that Jesus can work with even the least promising of material :-)...

God bless you in your seeking and finding, your following and faltering, your faith and doubt. More about the blog awards later, hopefully today, maybe tomorrow. And thanks again Bill!

3 comments:

quilly said...

Last night at Bible Study we were talking about the messages we deliver and the messages people receive. I said that often when I speak in front of the church, people come back to me and say that this or that touched their heart -- and I'm glad for them, but I don't know how they got that from my message! (Uhm, I don't say that last part, I just think it.)

We all look at things through the filter of our own experiences and expectations. God takes us from where we are to where we need to be. If it were really left up to all of us to lead each other their would still be a large contingency of people wandering circles in the desert .....

quilly said...

there

not their

really, I do know the difference.

Pft.

(Don't follow me! Follow God.)

The Old Fart said...

Alastair ~ You are most welcome enjoy the award, you truly merit the recogitioin.