Bad essays

Hey parents of our awesome youth,

After 4.5 years of life in ministry without formal study, I’ve decided to go back to Ridley and take on a new challenge! I’m studying a subject called Gospel Leadership and have written my first essay in ages, and it goes without saying that it’s not great! Though I think these experiences in life are important. We’ll often stuff things up, we won’t do them to a level we’re satisfied with and often for good reasons e.g.: spending time focused on family instead, other working commitments etc. In preaching I often find that if I’ve prepared and preached a ‘perfect’ (or close to) sermon, I’ll have spent so much time preparing it that I’ll have underperformed in parenting or being a husband or pastorally.

I think perfection and success are potentially destructive measures to gauge our effectiveness. Instead, my less-than-perfect essay has helped me reflect on how I’ve spent time with my family, time pastorally, and time working on mission. If I instead measure success in my essay by what I’ve learned about Kingdom-centred prayer, on how it’s shaped me, helped me be more fruitful, helped me grow in godliness, how it’s helped me pray more, love Jesus more, then I guess that would be a good measure of success!

These are things that God grows in us. We take no merit for them. As Paul does in Colossians 1 we can only thank God for all He does through us. And so through the lens of the cross we realise in a sense that we are better than perfect, though imperfect God sees Jesus’ perfection when He looks at us. And so when we stuff up, we hopefully learn and grow from these things. And they are a chance for us to focus back on the cross, to find grace in Him, and keep pressing forward in life in service to Jesus.

What stuff up’s have you learned most from in life? How did they direct you back to the gospel? Let me know how you go chatting with your children about this next week!

Cheers, Chris

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