1 Thessalonians 2:17 As for us, brothers and sisters, when, for a short time, we were made orphans by being separated from you—in person, not in heart—we longed with great eagerness to see you face to face. 18 For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, wanted to again and again—but Satan blocked our way. 19 For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 20 Yes, you are our glory and joy!
I love this passage, especially v.19. Through my 21 years as a pastor my “hope” and “joy” and “crown” for meeting the Lord one day has been to hear him say to me, “Well done good and faithful servant”. That is certainly still true, but Paul’s words fill in that picture a bit for me. Why would the Lord call me a good and faithful servant? It’s certainly not because I’m so holy or righteous. Rather, it’s people.
The home run for my life, as I understand it, is seeing people (spiritual fruit if you will) transformed by the gospel via the life and ministry I lead – as imperfect as it is. It’s incredibly satisfying to watch as the Lord takes hold of people and transforms them from the inside out. The fact that I get to have a part in that is the greatest thrill of all. Truly. And in some cases it’s not just individuals who are changed by Jesus, but entire families. Future generations (children, grandchildren, etc.) will be different because of the way Jesus has grabbed hold of people via relationship with me, and with people I’ve mentored along the way.
Lord Jesus, first I want to thank you for the many people who have poured themselves into me over the years. They have given me life by showing me what life in you looks like. Give me grace to continue doing the same for others. Amen.