3/23/2019 10:48:22 AM
Happy: The Pastor's Message for the April 2019 Messenger
Posted under: Messenger
When was the last time someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grow up? When I was little, I told everyone I wanted to be a paleontologist. Well, I probably said “dino bone hunter” when I was two or three, but for years all I wanted to do was search for dinosaur bones on a dusty mountain range. As I grew up, my answer to that question changed. I wanted to be a scientist, then an engineer, and biophysicist. By the time I graduated from college, all I wanted was a job that would pay me a living wage. Now that I have young kids, I realize how odd that question is. We train our kids and ourselves to respond by telling grownups what job we want to do. But what we do isn’t the limit to who we are. Imagine if we answered that question differently. What if we said, “I want to be good,” or “I want to serve the world.” Or what if anytime someone asked that, we responded with, “I want to just keep following Jesus.” As Christians, our jobs are only a part of the way we serve God.
Kari van Wakeren, Pastor of First Lutheran Church in Alexandria, Minnesota, recently wrote about what she wants for her kids. Like many parents, she wants her kids to be happy and healthy. But what does it mean to want that? She writes: As I considered this question, three things came to mind. I want my kids to grow up knowing: 1. God made them special. 2. They can do hard things. 3. They are not alone. With these three truths under their belt, I hope they will be able to weather life’s storms and make a positive impact in the world. But passing on these truths isn’t a once-and-done thing. Even knowing my desires for my kids doesn’t stop me from trying to shield them from adversity. In those moments, I need to remind myself that my goal for them isn’t happiness, but rather resilience, fulfillment and a quiet confidence, knowing their identity in Christ.
Growing into our identity in Christ isn’t easy for any of us, no matter how old we are. As van Wakeren writes, Jesus never promised that our lives would be easy or that we would always be happy. But God did send us the Spirit to remind us that we aren’t alone and, in Christ, we can do hard—and great—things. Easter is a perfect time for us to remember that, when it comes to Christ, we don’t have to grow into him. Rather, we already have him. And we now have the opportunity to become more Christ-like than we ever were before.
See you in church!