the tentmaker

daily thoughts on the common lectionary

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Location: Sharpsburg, Georgia, United States

"...because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them, and they worked together — by trade they were tentmakers." Acts 18:3. Tentmaker is a title taken by bi-vocational pastors. As such, I am both a pastor and a project manager. I am a pastor of a local congregation of moderate, accepting and affirming people who worship in the Baptist tradition. We call our church "Hope Memorial Baptist" and we are about 40 in number. I am also a project manager of major construction projects for the State of Georgia. My home and church is in rural Coweta County, between Peachtree City and Newnan, with a mailing address of Sharpsburg, Georgia.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

All Things Work Together For Good To Them That Love Thee

A prayer by Soren Kierkegaard, from Papirer, X, A, 222.
Every time that I have understood Thy goodness toward me I have thanked Thee before mankind for all Thy blessings; oh, but that is not really the relation between Thee and man—that he is able to understand that Thou art good. Help me to thank Thee even then when I do not understand that Thou art good but almost like a child want to believe that Thou art less loving. Abominable thought, by which I could make myself eternally unhappy.

Often though it seems to me that my relation to Thee is like that which I might have to an examiner: It is necessary that I use my reason, my strength; and then it is a question of knowing if I have grasped the truth. If I am mistaken Thou dost say simply: "Yes, here you are mistaken"; or "You have done wrong—you have yourself to blame." O my God, is this the relation between God and a man! No, God be priased, Thou and I—we are not face to face in such a noble equality. Oh no, even when I am mistaken, Thy providence has been there, permitted my mistake, and in its love has made my error enter into Thy paternal designs for me, disposing in Thy love these millions of possibilities in such a way that even my error has in truth been profitable to me.

Thou hast made me succeed in everything; then came a time when it seemed to me that Thou didst make me fail in everything. Then I thought all was over, that Thou wouldst have nothing more to do with me. Then I came to think that there would still be one blissful thing left for me: to thank Thee without ceasing for the unspeakable good that Thou has done for me, in a measure infinitely greater than I had expected. Oh the littleness of my heart which in all things has thought of Thee in such a small way. No, Thine intention was that I should advance through this unspeakable blessing Thou hast given me, that I should know the joy of praising Thee and giving Thee thanks even when I cannot understand and when everything seems to be going against me.


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