Wednesday, July 31, 2013

25 Years and Growing...

Gratitude Journal
1. The Pastoral Institute of Columbus, Georgia
2. Colleagues in good times and difficult times
3. Enriching and challenging daily tasks
4. Opportunity for expression and creativity
5. 25 years celebrated with family, friends, co-workers!

'I remembered my two favorite prayers: Help me, Help me, Help me, and Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.' Anne Lamontt

When I was a child I often heard of persons of my parents generation being employed with the same company for many, many years. It was not unheard of for some to receive special recognition in the local newspaper and a gold watch upon retirement after 50 years or more of service. However, the long term employee is almost a thing of the past.

It is reported that most young college grads today may have as many as eight or ten different professional positions before they retire. Mobility, the desire to be ones own boss, and ease of 'working from anywhere' as long as you have a computer, are becoming more common place.

There is something to be said about this new world we live in today. I take my hat off to those who have that flexibility and make choices to roll and move and change with the times! Such a life can bring new and creative opportunities for exciting possibilities in almost every field of work.

Yesterday (July 30) the Pastoral Institute recognized and celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversery of my employment. Ron King, Executive Director/CEO, also was fetted for completing his 25th year. It was a most joyous occasion. Having family and friends and co-workers to participate provided many joy-filled memories!

One of the richest 'blessings' of the day was when my good friend publically said of me, 'John is a life long learner.' (Thank you Stephen Muse!)

If anyone had predicted 25 years ago that I would still be a part of this wonderful organization after all these years, I would probably have laughed. I fully anticipated I would eventually move back to a pastorate or some church position or denominational post. However, I have been blessed to learn and grow and change and participate in the development of other ministers by staying right here.

To see a minister or staff person or clergy-family member or lay-person filled with joy and hope through some work we have done together has been most rewarding!

But even more basic has been the joy I have known within my own journey as I have been challenged to read and study and learn new things. While I may be haunted by the bittersweet reality I will not have time left to 'read all the books', I can say I do look forward to each new chapter ahead. For the foreseeable future I will be right here, continuing to relish the great blessing I have to be of ministry to ministers.

Backwards though it may seem, I hope I continue to remember in the hard times to pray: Thank You, Thank You, Thank You... what do You have to teach me, Lord? And in the good times: Help Me, Help Me, Help Me,Lord... to be open to learning something new and not rest in idle pridefulness!


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