The Minnesota State Fair is in its second week. (By the way, have you tried any of the new fair foods? There's the Bacon Fluffernator, a cinnamon bun sandwhich loaded with bacon, peanut butter, and marshmallow. Who can resist the Bacon Up Pup, a Belgian waffle on a stick with bacon in the batter, dipped in chocolate, coated in maple syrup and topped with whipped cream and bacon? Then there's the Bowl O' Dough, scoops of safe to eat cookie dough served with a side of ice milk. If you get to the fairgrounds early in the morning, grab a Breakfast Buddy Bowl. Simply, if it's for breakfast, there's a good chance it's in the bowl.) Our college students have left to begin a new semester. Fall sports teams open their seasons in just a few days, and shopping for school clothes and supplies is the number one agenda item of moms everywhere. I hope your summer brought smiles, laughter, and memories for you and your family.
I’ve never been fond of the winter season. For me, summer cannot get here soon enough and leaves all too quickly. With the exception of Christmas and New Year’s Day, I tolerate winter. My thought has always been, “Live where it’s warm, and vacation where it’s cold.” Long underwear, layers, and leather gloves just aren’t my style. I prefer short sleeves, baseball hats, and swimming in lakes. I joke with our church family, “I know why I live here. I live here because you live here. What I don’t know is why you live here!”
That’s not entirely true. I do know why most of you live here. For some, this is where you’ve always lived, and you love life in Minnesota for many good reasons. For others, this is where your family is, and the comfort and closeness of family keeps you at home. For most of us this is where our jobs are. We live here because we work here. In recent years a number of our families relocated to other parts of the United States because of a job change. That’s nothing new and will continue to be a part of our church life. By God’s grace, new families will join us as they relocate to the Twin Cities because of work.
Still, many of you could live somewhere else if you wanted to. One of the great luxuries of life in the United States is autonomy to live in South St. Paul, South Dakota, South Carolina, or Southern California. So why do you live here?
For us as Christian men and women committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, living here is more than comfort, family, or a job. We live here because we believe this is where the Lord would have us serve him. Simply, we live here because we think this is the best place right now to do what Jesus wants us to do. This is where He where He wants us to be salt and light (Matt 5:13-16). This is where He wants us to make disciples (Acts 1:8; Matt 28:18-20). He doesn’t want us on a tropical island, on a seacoast, in the Sun Belt, in Asia or in Europe. He wants us right here, engaged in His work. It’s so easy to long for something else, someplace else. That’s not good for us. Fantasizing about life somewhere else creates a sense of discontent that diminishes our effectiveness for Jesus Christ in the place where we are. As one old-time preacher used to say, “Grow where you’re planted.”
So let’s get after fulfilling our Lord’s will for us right here. Summer ends with the coming Labor Day holiday. We’ve had a good rest. Now let’s get to work pursuing relationships with unsaved neighbors and friends. Let’s get busy teaching younger Christians how to live the Christian life. Let’s care for each other in our church family so that no need we can solve goes unmet. Let’s pray daily and earnestly that the work we do here in the suburbs of St. Paul, Minnesota, will endure for generations.
Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
As always I welcome your feedback and any suggestions you might have for an upcoming Lunchtime Musing.