"What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the hearts of others." Pericles
This picture of Jason, me and Jonathan was taken just before we processed into the Historic Church last Friday evening for the opening Eucharist of the Diocesan Convention. Upon seeing it on Facebook, someone affectionately suggested it be captioned "the old man and the boys" . . . aside from its obvious truth, I thought it most apropos in two ways.
First, among my ministries is the challenge, the opportunity and indeed the privilege of mentoring the next generation of Church leaders by imparting a bit of the wisdom that, by God's grace, has shaped me and defined my Kingdom-building initiatives. Echoing Isaac Newton, I'm quick to say, "If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants." That said, I've endeavored to do for the young men God has placed beside me what others have done for me over the years; and praise God, Jason and Jonathan are among the many scattered about the world whose horizons are now a bit more distant.
Second, I understand my mentoring ministry not to be ultimately self-serving. By that I mean this parish benefits but only for a season; consequently, a "hello" is inevitably followed by a "good-bye" with some intervals being shorter than others. For those who might be struggling with these comings and goings, I suggest pondering, as I have, these words found in one of our favorite songs, "Blessed Be Your Name" by Matt Redman.
"You give and take away,
You give and take away,
My heart will choose to say,
Lord, blessed be Your name!"
Notice, the Lord gives before He takes away. Could that be to strengthen our faith in His provision . . . I think so. Could that be to thwart our possessive tendencies . . . I think so. Could that be to deepen our trust in God's always working for our good and His greater glory . . . I think so. As Jason leaves us to become the Rector of St. Paul's Anglican Church in Conway, SC, we are reminded again that we have been blessed individually and corporately to bless others; and for that we once again choose to say, "Thanks be to God!"