Pressing On

with THE WORD

A study of the Scriptures to discover who God is, what He is like, and how to partner with Him now.

Filtering by Tag: seasons

For my son - When it's time to let go

My oldest son has officially finished high school and is getting ready to embark on the next phase of his life.  As I am nostalgically thinking of that time in my own life, I am also thinking of the things God has taught me since then.

This is the third post in a three-part series where I am remembering lessons I have learned later in life that I would love for my son know now...

I chose this post because letting go is hard…for everyone involved.  I don’t know how to be the parent of an adult child.  I’ve never done it before; I’ve never had a relationship like this.  But then again, neither has he.  We both will have to learn to trust God in new ways, as faith can only grow like this when we let go.

When it’s time to let go
originally posted on February 3, 2016

Paul began his letter to Philemon by telling him how he’s being prayed for:

Philemon 4-5
I always thank my God when I mention you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and faith toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints.

These aren’t just words of flattery.  Instead, they are Paul’s acknowledgment of Philemon’s maturity and his deserved reputation for his recognizable love and faith.  It is because of Philemon’s progress in becoming Christ-like that Paul can make a very personal request:

Philemon 8-11
For this reason, although I have great boldness in Christ to command you to do what is right, I appeal, instead, on the basis of love.  I Paul, as an elderly man and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus, appeal to you for my child, whom I fathered while in chains – Onesimus.  Once he was useless to you, but now he is useful to both you and me.

We are now introduced to the subject of Paul’s letter.  Onesimus and Philemon had some sort of relationship problem…but at that time, Philemon was a Christian and Onesimus was not.  Since that time, Onesimus has met up with Paul, who then taught him about Jesus.  Under Paul’s guidance, Onesimus trusted Jesus for eternal life and became part of God’s family.

While Paul would often refer to the churches he planted as “his children,” there are only three people in the Scriptures that Paul directly refers to as “his child” – Timothy, Titus, and Onesimus.  Given Paul’s reference to being an elderly man, it’s probable that Onesimus was, like Timothy and Titus, at the other end of the age spectrum.  As the letter continues, it is clear how much Paul cares for Onesimus.

However, as a good father, Paul knows that the next step in Onesimus’ growth and development as a believer is to reconcile with Philemon. 

Philemon 12-14
I am sending him – a part of myself – back to you.  I wanted to keep him with me, so that in my imprisonment for the gospel he might serve me in your place.  But I didn’t want to do anything without your consent, so that your good deed might not be out of obligation, but of your own free will.

I’m certain that the tough part for Paul is that he will not be present to facilitate their meeting.  Paul won’t be there to make sure Philemon and Onesimus do this right.  He won’t be able to mediate their grievances.  There’s no guarantee they can successfully reconcile on their own, but there little Paul can do about that while he’s in prison.  So Paul does the best he can – he writes a personal letter to his dear friend on behalf of his son – and he sends Onesimus on his way.

He lets go.

Sometimes, as hard as that is…it’s for best.  No matter how great our parents were, we couldn’t have grown like we did unless we left the comforts of their home.  Mentors are beneficial for a season, and the best bosses can develop us for a time…but we grow the most when we have to trust God and apply the lessons we’ve learned.

Paul even admitted his struggle – I wanted to keep him with me.  But he knew that Onesimus and Philemon would benefit more from this opportunity to be Christ-like after previously hurting one another.  They couldn’t hold on to Paul’s hand and toddle around anymore; they needed to trust God and walk on their own.  Both Onesimus and Philemon needed to choose the right thing, not out of obligation, but of their own free will.

I’ve been on both sides before.  I’ve left my childhood home and the church I grew up in.  I’ve had my mentor leave.  I’ve also been the boss who left the team, knowing that my absence would be a catalyst for their growth.  And soon, I’ll be sending my sons out into the world.  Both sides are hard.

When those moments arrive, it’s best to trust God and let go.

Keep Pressing,
Ken
 

Taking time

The writer of Ecclesiastes made some rather astute observations about life.  Some of them will ring familiar, but as you go through them...I encourage you to read slowly and identify which ones apply to your current circumstances:

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
There is an occasion for everything,
and a time for every activity under heaven:

a time to give birth and a time to die;

a time to plant and a time to uproot;
a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to tear down and a time to build;
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing;
a time to search and a time to count as lost;
a time to keep and a time to throw away;
a time to tear and a time to sew;
a time to be silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.

My favorite line out of the list is a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones.  As much fun as it is to go throw rocks sometimes...this dichotomy likely refers to the ancient custom of destroying a farmer's field by throwing many stones on it, whereas the gathering of stones describes the clearing of stones from a field to get it ready to plant.

There are many seasons to a life, and we spend most of our time living in between the polar opposites listed above.  I've been kicking the idea around for a while, and I think it's time for me to take a short break from writing.  I did this in August last year, and it was a good respite for me and my family.  

I'm going to take three weeks to rest, study, and lean into God.  I want to gather stones so I can be prepared for future growth.  Let's just say...it's time.

See you September 14th.

Keep Pressing,
Ken

When it's time to let go

Paul began his letter to Philemon by telling him how he’s being prayed for:

Philemon 4-5
I always thank my God when I mention you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and faith toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints.

These aren’t just words of flattery.  Instead, they are Paul’s acknowledgment of Philemon’s maturity and his deserved reputation for his recognizable love and faith.  It is because of Philemon’s progress in becoming Christ-like that Paul can make a very personal request:

Philemon 8-11
For this reason, although I have great boldness in Christ to command you to do what is right, I appeal, instead, on the basis of love.  I Paul, as an elderly man and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus, appeal to you for my child, whom I fathered while in chains – Onesimus.  Once he was useless to you, but now he is useful to both you and me.

We are now introduced to the subject of Paul’s letter.  Onesimus and Philemon had some sort of relationship problem…but at that time, Philemon was a Christian and Onesimus was not.  Since that time, Onesimus has met up with Paul, who then taught him about Jesus.  Under Paul’s guidance, Onesimus trusted Jesus for eternal life and became part of God’s family.

While Paul would often refer to the churches he planted as “his children,” there are only three people in the Scriptures that Paul directly refers to as “his child” – Timothy, Titus, and Onesimus.  Given Paul’s reference to being an elderly man, it’s probable that Onesimus was, like Timothy and Titus, at the other end of the age spectrum.  As the letter continues, it is clear how much Paul cares for Onesimus.

However, as a good father, Paul knows that the next step in Onesimus’ growth and development as a believer is to reconcile with Philemon. 

Philemon 12-14
I am sending him – a part of myself – back to you.  I wanted to keep him with me, so that in my imprisonment for the gospel he might serve me in your place.  But I didn’t want to do anything without your consent, so that your good deed might not be out of obligation, but of your own free will.

I’m certain that the tough part for Paul is that he will not be present to facilitate their meeting.  Paul won’t be there to make sure Philemon and Onesimus do this right.  He won’t be able to mediate their grievances.  There’s no guarantee they can successfully reconcile on their own, but there little Paul can do about that while he’s in prison.  So Paul does the best he can – he writes a personal letter to his dear friend on behalf of his son – and he sends Onesimus on his way.

He lets go.

Sometimes, as hard as that is…it’s for best.  No matter how great our parents were, we couldn’t have grown like we did unless we left the comforts of their home.  Mentors are beneficial for a season, and the best bosses can develop us for a time…but we grow the most when we have to trust God and apply the lessons we’ve learned.

Paul even admitted his struggle – I wanted to keep him with me.  But he knew that Onesimus and Philemon would benefit more from this opportunity to be Christ-like after previously hurting one another.  They couldn’t hold on to Paul’s hand and toddle around anymore; they needed to trust God and walk on their own.  Both Onesimus and Philemon needed to choose the right thing, not out of obligation, but of their own free will.

I’ve been on both sides before.  I’ve left my childhood home and the church I grew up in.  I’ve had my mentor leave.  I’ve also been the boss who left the team, knowing that my absence would be a catalyst for their growth.  And soon, I’ll be sending my sons out into the world.  Both sides are hard.

When those moments arrive, it’s best to trust God and let go.

Keep Pressing,
Ken

Timing

Titus 1:1-3 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness – a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and at his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior

Timing.  We all struggle with it.  When we’re young, we want to be older.  When we’re older, we pine away for our younger days.  We get impatient that we aren’t married yet, or don’t have our dream job yet, or sourly reminisce about the opportunity we foolishly missed out on.

The most common deathbed regret is the lack of risk-taking during one’s life…that they wish they would have taken the chance to ask out that girl, or to start a certain business, or to actually tell their kids how much they really loved them.  Given the opportunity, we would rewrite our life’s history in a heartbeat.  The chances not taken, the words unspoken…or maybe we would take back the times we really messed up.  We all have moments like that, and they act like thorns in our memories and in our hearts.

But since time is linear, and we have to live in it…we can’t change the past, nor do we really know what the future holds.  While that may scare us when we honestly think about it, we have no choice but to live in the present and make the best of where we’re at in this moment in time.

But what makes me smile, what gives me hope, is found in verses 2-3, that

…God, who does not lie, promised [eternal life] before the beginning of time, and at his appointed season he brought his word to light…

When we look at the “timing words” in these verses, we find that God doesn’t work within time like we are forced to.  We see that God made a promise before the beginning of time, and that he has appointed seasons already planned ahead.

No mistakes.  No missed opportunities.  All according to his plan.

There is a ton of comfort when we meditate on this one simple truth – that God knows the beginning from the end, he’s planned it out…and therefore

He’s not surprised by life – even when we are

He’s not missing opportunities – like we have

He sees human history in seasons – and he works within those seasons

at his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior

God chose the specific time in human history that Christ would sacrifice himself.  He met Paul at just the right moment, the exact right season, in order to reach him with the truth.  Since Paul accepted Christ as who he is – the Son of God and the Savior of our sins – Paul was then able to fulfill the mission God had chosen him for at that point in history. 

God also meets each of us at the exact right time in our lives.  After we accept Christ for who he is, we also have a mission for this season of history – to introduce those around us to him.  We can even use verse 3 as a template:

At [God’s] appointed season he brought his word to light through the __________ entrusted to me

How will you fill in the blank?

Keep Pressing,
Ken