Friday, September 9, 2016

Life can get challenging

This has been quite an interesting week. As mentioned in yesterday's post, Madison FBC called me as their interim pastor this week, and I will begin in that capacity starting Sunday. I had a meeting this morning with the Associate Pastor to get some information about events coming up soon. I also had a chance to talk to the office manager for a few minutes. Both are great people who will be a joy to work with. I've known both of them for several years, and they are super people. I've also known the Children's Director for several years and consider her one of the best. As in any transition, there will be challenges, but with the quality of the church staff and lay leadership I think we'll meet those challenges.

Much of my attention has been focused on preparing for an auction I have for tomorrow (Saturday). The family has moved out of state and sold their home which closes a few days after the auction which means we need to sell their personal property. As the week has progressed we have encountered one challenge after another.

  • The date of the auction is the same as a festival in a small community about a mile from the site of the auction. Trying to not conflict any more than necessary I moved the auction to a noon starting time which is later than usual.
  • I was told this week that part of the major highway that will bring people to the auction will be shut down for about an hour for a parade. If things run on time it should reopen about a half hour before the auction is scheduled to begin.
  • We have a 60 percent change of showers and thunderstorms throughout the day of the auction. I've had to set up everything with the expectation that most of it will have to sell inside. This will make for crowded conditions if the number of people I'm expecting shows up.
  • Several of my regular workers are gone on vacation. Due to the closing on the house we could not schedule a day when everyone will be back. I will be using experienced people, but they haven't worked with me before.
  • Since I initially looked at what will be sold the family brought out many items that I had not seen. This will be a big sale.
  • The state highway decided to mow the grass on the roads leading to the auction. In doing so, they ran over my directional signs tearing them to shreds. I'll have to install new ones on my way to the sale Saturday morning.
  • On Wednesday I was checking my supplies and realized I had almost no clerking sheets. I thought I had a half-box full of clerking sheets, but it turned out that box contained other supplies. I quickly ordered the sheets and asked that they be shipped overnight. Doing so made the shipping costs more than double the cost of the sheets I ordered, but I had no choice. You cannot have an auction without clerking sheets. I called that extra cost "stupid tax." It's the price you pay for doing stupid things like not checking my supply inventory earlier.
  • I've been battling a cold since last Saturday. Although I no longer have a sore throat, I'm fighting sinus issues and coughing spells. None of that is good for an auctioneer.
This week has definitely been a challenge, but I still see God at work in my life. What if I hadn't checked my quantity of clerking sheets until the day of the auction? When I realized I had more to sell than I first realized I asked a fellow auctioneer if he could sell in a second ring for part of the auction. He agreed, and found the additional people I needed to work the auction. My signs are destroyed, but last year I had additional signs made, so I have them available to put up. With the expectation of rain we probably won't be able to park people in the field behind the house, but the house sits on a corner so there is plenty of paved county road for people to park. I'm not 100%, but my cold has improved. I'm thankful it didn't begin this Saturday just before the auction. The rain? Well, I can't do much about that, but we'll see what God might do. Maybe it will hold off long enough to sell what needs to sell outside, and even if it doesn't, we'll make it work.

Just because life can throw challenges at us doesn't mean that God isn't at work. As each one of these challenges have been met I've been able to say, "Thank you, Lord." I'm sure there will be times in this interim pastorate I'm about to begin when things become very challenging, but I also know that God will be with me and others as we lead this church through this transition period.

Don't ever assume that because things are difficult that God has abandoned you or is no longer interested in your life. I believe God is at work even when we do not necessarily see his activity. The Bible is very clear that God is interested in our lives and ministries. Let your challenges drive you to your knees in prayer and let them cause you to lift up your eyes to the heavens where your help comes from.

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