This was a good week in many ways, but all three of our counseling appointments cancelled at the last minute or no showed without calling. As I reflected on this, it would be very easy to be discouraged. After all, I said no to all sorts of things to say yes to being available during those slots. I missed out on a date with my wife, time with my family, seeing friends or whatever else I would have done during those times.
If counseling was all about me, that’s where my thought life would rest. I would be stuck in a pattern of thinking how unfair it was to be robbed of these blessings. But counseling is not about me. Counseling, like every other part of our mission here, is about seeing the Kingdom of God become more fully realized than it was the day before. The reality is that while these counseling appointments didn’t happen, lots of other things that showed an expanding Kingdom of God did. As I fix my gaze on Jesus and what He is doing it is easy to forget any disappointments along the way because I know that many of this week’s blessings began as disappointments which God has redeemed for greater good.
More than that, if someone had told me “Mike, I’m going to let you give a clear gospel presentation to twelve people this year who have never heard the true gospel before, but you will have to endure 30 cancelled appointment,” I would have taken that deal in a heartbeat. This is actually the reality of our ministry here – people who have never heard the real truth of the beauty of Christ and the value of pursuing Him above all else have seen that for the first time, or been reminded of it in ways that resulted in Kingdom expansion. In little ways, we have been doing our part in the parables of the Kingdom we looked at in our evangelistic study of Mark 4 last night. What seems small at first is gradually growing in ways that are visible to regular people.
We will have more no shows. I am certain of it. It’s part of choosing the mission field we have chosen. The people we are trying to reach tend to be poorer, which means they have more demanding jobs and less predictable schedules. They are all in some kind of crisis that can result in last minute distractions and demands. They frequently are battling some kind of sin or suffering pattern that argues against getting help from God’s Spirit, His Word and His people. The key thing for me, and for all of us, is to keep Jesus’ expanding Kingdom at the center – even if that is His Kingdom growing from my own ability to push aside disappointments because my greatest treasure is abiding in Him.