While driving out to a friend's house the other day, I passed a house that was in the process of being built early in our tenure here. In front of the house were several linear rows of pears trees.
I remember those trees when they were planted.
Saplings. Barely green in spring.
And then they grew. and grew.
And now are tall and sturdy, brilliant white blossoms shining in the early spring.
I have been here long enough to see trees mature.
And then, while still driving, I thought of my friend's daughter who will be graduating high school in June.
I remember her as a preschooler with a scrunchy on the top of her head.
Who would barely speak. who would laugh as we sang "Inchworm"together.
And she has grown. and grown.
And now she is a lovely young woman embarking confidently into adulthood.
I have been here long enough to see her mature.
It's a gift.
In ministry nothing seems a guarantee. Your time in one place is more than likely short-lived.
I don't know current statistics, but the average stay for a pastor in one congregation is...well, not that many years.
There's a WHOLE lot I could say on this subject, but for now I find myself filled with gratitude for longevity...
being in one place for one long while.
being gifted stability and steadiness. our congregation being gifted the same.
having the opportunity to put down roots that could actually take hold and strengthen.
I do not think length of time always correlates to effectiveness or influence, but in this world of perpetual shifts and ever-new methods, it seems refreshing to think some things (and people) can remain fixed.
Going on 14 years now...over a decade with one church family. Through ups and downs. Through winning and losing. Longevity. Endurance. Mutual commitment.
What a gift...and today I am filled with gratitude.