We have a two-year old dog named Sadie. She is half Beagle and half Boston-Terrier. Excuse my self-indulgence but I just have to share a picture.
So like any dog she has needs and one of them is to go outside, usually at the inconvenience of her masters! However, when ever she finishes her business it has become customary to reward her with a treat and she loves treats!
So what does that have to do with church and vision?
The vision of North Star Church is to glorify God by “fostering new and growing relationships with God and others through worship, learning, service and witness.” And like Sadie, we want to know what the reward will be for finishing the task!
On earth the reward will be the expansion of God’s community. We will welcome new people into the life of God’s grace through Jesus Christ and celebrate this new journey they are undertaking. This is the fostering part of our vision.
The growing part is the opportunity to make new friends that could last the rest of our lives. The deepest longing for every one of us is intimacy with kindred spirits. The community of faith should not be a lonely place – rather it should be a place where we foster deeper connections with others who are on the disciple’s journey. Part of the reward will be new connections and hopefully growing connections with people who are following Jesus Christ.
Beyond this life the reward will be from God the Father. My hearts desire is to hear these words – “Well done good and faithful servant!” The New Testament writers talk about “laying up treasures in heaven” or “receiving crowns” as our reward but the greatest for me will be the words of affirmation God speaks. That goal, that vision, that reward is what drives me. As imperfect as I am, my daily prayer is for the Spirit of God to use me for his vision, his purposes. I hope that I am “fostering” as my business now so that I might experience the rewards of this life and the life yet to come.
I look forward to the earthly reward of engaging new people and fostering a growing relationship with each of them. And I press on to the reward of my Heavenly Father longing to hear His words of affirmation.
I hope you will take a moment to reflect on this question – what is the reward you hope for in this life and in the life to come?
Is it momentary? Is it more stuff? Is it peace and tranquility in your life and home? Is it more vacation time? Is it pleasure? Is it acceptance or notoriety? Is it to barely make it inside the gates of heaven?
Let me hold out an invitation to you – join me on this journey as we strive for our true earthly and heavenly reward.