Pastor’s Corner (5/20/2021)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the past I have been told that I am an optimist. I do not think it was meant as a compliment. When I read the following quote from the book Change Your World by John C. Maxwell and Rob Hoskins, I understood better why this comment troubled me. They began their book by exploring the foundational concept of hope. As I read this opening chapter, I better understood why I consider myself as a person of hope, not simply an optimist. Maxwell and Hoskins commented that hope is essential to the process of changing our world. They shared the following comments from Jonathan Sacks which appeared in his book The Dignity of Difference. Sacks commented that there is an important difference between hope and optimism. “Optimism is the belief that things will be better. Hope is the faith that, together, we can make things better. Optimism is a passive virtue, hope, an active one. It takes no courage to be an optimist, but it takes a great deal of courage to have hope.”
As a person of faith, I really resonate with the concept of hope. I think I also struggled to see myself as an optimist because I tend to see things realistically, which does not seem to be part of an optimistic outlook. As I have been preparing our course in Spiritual Gifts, I have also been participating in the process of discernment. Although I was initially shocked, it ultimately made sense to me when I came to realize that one of my top spiritual gifts is “prophecy.” It is not foretelling the future, but it is sharing the message of God that people need to hear. It also means becoming aware of what I need. One need that has become apparent to me is my need to become a better leader. This was not part of my preparation for ministry, but it is clearly a need now as I serve as your pastor.
I shared this awareness with the Pastoral Relations Committee and told them about a couple of options for leadership development. We all agreed that participation in the training offered by the John Maxwell Team seemed to be the best fit. Thanks to funds from my annual Continuing Education allowance from the congregation and a generous grant from the FCC Foundation, I was able to register for this program. So, as a part of this training I began reading Change Your World. It is my expectation and hope that as I become a better leader I will be able to equip the leadership of this congregation.
One foundational element of this program that really attracted me was the emphasis on hope and positive change. Maxwell and Hoskins said it well: “The changes you make within yourself will give you the confidence and credibility and hope to help others.“ I believe this positive and hopeful attitude will empower me and you to move forward as individuals and as a congregation. I look forward to bringing you along as we make this hopeful, and not simply optimistic, journey.
The Apostle Paul said it well to the faithful in Rome and I repeat his words once again: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in h
hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
In hope and love,