The United States Constitution reads “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” — among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Happiness is not guaranteed, however it is an “unalienable Right.” But every person has the right to pursue it. People “pursue happiness” in many different ways, but that is not the subject I’m focusing on as we approach 2019.
God gives us a more definite goal as we seek Him. James 5:11: “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”
By this we understand if our goal in the New Year is happiness, it is subsequent to endurance. The fulfillment of happiness is the end of where patience takes us. In Job’s case, this was the ultimate result to which God brought all his afflictions and trials – He gave him children, increased his property, lengthened his life — multiplying spiritual and secular good. This was God’s end with respect to Job. Satan wanted the end to be entirely different, but Job endured.
What do we want “the end” to be for us in 2019? What would be the fulfillment of happiness? Is endurance a factor when we address the needs of our local Sunday Schools? How many plans in the past have been put aside because the success we hoped for didn’t immediately happen?
“We have visited our community and we saw no results,” you might say. “We put ads in the newspaper; we had announcements about our services on radio. We’ve passed out fliers and hung signs up on the church property. Nothing worked.”
In the 1970s I was a real estate agent and was required to attend a training session to be more effective in the listing and selling of property. The first thing we were taught was “farm your community.” This didn’t stop with a first-time knocking on doors and say, “I’m here.” It entailed much endurance — much patience – and much work. To farm doesn’t mean plow the field and hope for the best. There must be continued effort given and alertness to the circumstances and needs of that community. There must be a connection that comes about with continuous contact. It does take much patience before results come.
In 2 Thessalonians 1:11 and 12, Paul assures the Church that he is praying “always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” This is the end of His calling — that ye may show forth the virtues of him who called you — His glorious excellence may be seen upon you
His prayer – earnest prayer – was that God would make them worthy, giving them the continual supplies of grace in the Holy Ghost, so they could fulfill their holy vocation in the Church. Note this also implies you should be holy, as he who has called you is holy.
Holy works cannot be done by unholy people – but by people worthy of the calling of God. 1 Corinthians 15:58 (our Sunday School theme verse this year) gives us the way starting, with believing God, to Embrace the Vision … the Word, the Work: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”