Read Philippians 1:3-11
I love to cook. I love it for a lot of reasons, but I think I do primarily because there is a clear beginning and end and easily measurable results. Either it tastes good or it doesn’t. The family eats it or they don’t. As a pastor, what I do in my day to is not so always so easily measured. Sure, I can tell if a sermon falls flat or is well received, although it is hard to know or measure the amount of impact any given message has in the day to day lives of those who listen. I can measure the results as some do by counting attendance and offering, but that rarely paints a full picture of how God is at work in and through a community of faith. As I wrap up my time here in North Carolina I’m thinking about these things. What has gone well? What hasn’t? Where has there been fruit? Where has the ground dried up? It’s hard to measure success and failure as a pastor but I am learning what to look for. I am learning to look and pray for things similar to what Paul prays in this text — things like love overflowing in and through people’s lives, people growing in knowledge and understanding, and character. So today I pray with Paul for those I have been blessed to serve.
I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ —for this will bring much glory and praise to God. (Philippians 1:9-11 NLT)