Skip to content

How Perspectives Change…

March 24, 2020

My Dad was a pastor.  Hence, I am a PK (Pastor’s Kid).  Our family lived in a parsonage (some of you may call it a manse) from the time I was 6 until after I went away to college at 19.  My sisters and I were thankful that we did not have to live next door to the church.  We felt sorry for other PK’s we knew who had to live next door to the church.  We thought that had to be boring, and mundane, and lonely.  We at least had a neighborhood.  I have been pretty open about the fact that for the longest time, I never wanted to be a pastor; I never wanted to live in a parsonage; and for sure never wanted to live in a parsonage that was next to the church.

Since August 4, 1996, I have lived with my family in a parsonage, across the parking lot from the church where I have served as the pastor (Once you have finished laughing at me you can read on).  I have never seen this arrangement as God getting back at me.  It is more accurately, God changing my heart to be obedient to him regardless the circumstances.  I am fully aware of the sacrifices of no equity and needing to get permission to do home improvement projects.  I am also very blessed to serve a congregation who gives me and my family space respecting the parsonage as our home, and not just a second office.  I am blessed by leadership that wants to make sure that we have a decent home in which to live and grants budget money for the improvements that need to be done.

Just today, I had another change of perspective.  As our world is in the middle of a pandemic, many are doing all they can to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID 19).  Our State of Illinois was ordered by the Governor to “shelter in place” which began just a few days ago (3/22/2020).  Only essential personnel are able to be out and about for work, and the rest of us are supposed to stay home unless we need groceries, of have medical needs such as appointments or prescriptions to fill, and we can get gasoline, or go for a walk.  Many are working from home and children are all doing e-learning which is adding more stress to many parents.  It is a challenging situation but best for the common good.

ImageBut I live across the parking lot from the church I pastor, and I am at the time being a solo pastor.  I spend most of my days alone in my office, save for appointments, and errands, and a quick lunch or a cup of coffee.  Now there are virtually no appointments, few if any errands, and I make my own coffee.  But I live across the parking lot from the church.  I can go for a walk and end up in my office.  I sit in my desk chair.  I have my books.  I am in a familiar environment.  I am more content than I ever thought I would be.  My perspective has changed.

In Philippians 4:10-13 the Apostle Paul finally gets to the point of his letter to the church at Philippi.  He is thanking them for a financial gift.  But he reminds them that while he is grateful, he also has all he needs.  He tells them that he had “learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (4:11).  He tells them that he has “learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (4:12).  What is the secret?  Dependency on Christ (4:13).  Paul’s circumstances do not define him.  His relationship with Jesus does.  The realities of the coronavirus does not define us; relationship with Jesus does.  I am fortunate that in his wisdom God put me in a place where working from “home” has, more or less, been my lot for 23 plus years.  But that does not define me.  A parsonage does not define me.  Being a PK or even a pastor, husband, father, or grandpa, does not define me.  My relationship with Jesus is what defines me.

I keep looking for lessons I can learn personally from all that our world in going through.  I want to learn these lessons for myself.  And today the lesson for me is to see how God has so changed my perspective to the point where I am content in a place, I once thought I never wanted to be.  To put it another way, I learned today that contentment is far more, and dare I say, completely bound up in my relationship with Jesus, than any circumstance in which I find myself.  I think I was somewhat aware of this.  But it took a walk across the parking lot in the middle of a “shelter in place” order due to a global pandemic to open my eyes to how God had been working all along to change my perspective.

From → Uncategorized

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: