A couple of years ago, my congregation took a spiritual life survey to help leadership discern our priorities and where are energy was. The top priority (which is probably the top priority for almost every congregation that takes this survey) was “Make necessary changes to attract families with children and youth to our church.”
This was the top priority because everyone loves children. We also realize, even if we don’t want to acknowledge it, that we are all going to die. For the congregation to continue after we’re gone, we need the next generation.
This priority was something we wanted, but was it something we were willing to do?
This is an important distinction. I want to have a weed-free yard, but am I willing to do all the weeding necessary to make that happen? I want to run half-marathons again, but am I willing to do the necessary training? (I might be, but my joints, not so much). I want a lot of things but am I willing to make the necessary changes to make them happen?
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willingspirit. – Psalm 51:12 (NRSV)
The psalmist says it honestly. We want to turn away from our sins and change our hearts and minds. We want to live a righteous life. But do we want it enough to actually change our hearts and minds? Am I willing to let go of whatever it is I’m holding on to instead? Do I just want it or am I willing to make the necessary changes to make it happen?
Lord, it’s not just in the joy of your salvation I want to live but also on your paths of righteousness. Don’t just wash me or purify me with hyssop but renew me from the inside out. Create in me more than just the desire to live in your light but sustain within me a willing spirit that makes it a reality. Amen.
Each Friday, I do a 5-minute free write on the day’s prompt. You can read more about Five-Minute Friday here.