Discernment, Ministry, Preacher Group, Preaching, Sabbatical



When I started at my last church, kathrynzj gave me a Starbucks gift card she had personalized. It says “a card to fuel the fierce and fabulous,” a favorite reference of those who wish to be fierce and fabulous for Jesus. It’s a charming card, and a gift that meant a lot to me, so I have recharged it many, many times.

Last week I found myself in a Starbucks with her, in my new homeland, and there we ran into a UCC colleague who used to be in Maine and now serves in the town where we live, which is, you know, a little odd, especially considering we really knew each other and I did the interim in his last church after he left for Pennsylvania. #smallworld

So there we all are on a Thursday afternoon, and I am in line paying with my Starbucks card while they talk, and the card is spent down to nothing, so I pay the balance with cash and reclaim the card, fending off the barista so ready to dispose of it for me.

I join them, and the three of us stand talking, and I realize not only are my worlds colliding in a bizarre way — yes, the colleague I used to sit next to every Tuesday morning at preacher group just sat next to my wife this Tuesday morning at ministerium — but also they are doing the work, and I am not.

A few days later I got out the door early enough to be UCC at 8:15 and worship with the Presbyterians at 11. I saw and heard them both preach, my old friend and my new wife. They did it differently, in style and text and context. I wondered, as I took notes and reflected on each message, if people used to listen to me as intently as I did to them?

Despite their encouraging and good words, I felt like the gift card, run down to zero. Will God charge me up and use me again? Will I be handed over to be recycled? Or will I end up in a drawer, a fond reminder of gestures long past?

kathrynzj told me that she set up the actual card on automatic re-charge. Maybe that’s what this sabbatical is meant for, a chance to recharge on God’s account. Maybe when it’s over, way will open to ministry in a familiar form.

Or maybe not.

7 thoughts on “Recharging”

  1. The Universe, Allah, Buddha, The Great Creator, God and the Baby Jesus all have a plan for you. But maybe the first step is to just breathe and rest in love. I am so happy for you! And KZJ, even though I haven’t met her yet.
    (The Big Guy and I are having issues, just last week I identified myself as Buddhist without thinking first.)

  2. I am not sure if I will be able to comment on this or not but I am going to try. I was very happy to read this blog post this morning! I understand about being recharged! I haven’t been recharged for 2 years! Being a teacher, I use my summers for recharging and sadly, the past two summers I had way too many responsibilities to make room for recharging. This summer I shall find a charge card like the one Kathryn gave you and think of you! You see, I believe God still uses you as I love reading your wise words of wisdom. God has just put you to rest in her back pocket so you can rest and recharge. Keep writing please as I love your words!!!

  3. Some of what you wrote struck a similar note with some of my thoughts lately as I find myself being Methodist one Sunday and UCC the next. I find myself comparing the two theologies and trying to figure out the differences.

    It must be hard not being on the “front lines” although I’m sure it’s beneficial to get recharged.

    I’m feeling a little disconcerted in this “middle age” as I wonder whether I’ll ever achieve full-potential and whether or not the degree I worked 7 years to obtain is even serving any purpose. (And will be paying for forever in this lifetime!)

  4. A very wise and wonderful woman sent me an email a year or so ago that affirmed and encouraged me as I followed God around a curve in the road of my journey of faith. And so I follow in her footsteps… Whether or not there is a church building with your name on the sign outside in the near future, there is a community of believers who gather on multiple Internet sites who are continually blessed by God working through you. You may not speak out loud to a crowd on a Sunday morning however you minister every day through the written word. Thank You for sharing your journey…and words of wisdom.

  5. Take this time and just… be. You’ll know where your path will be, and there you shall walk with a happy heart. Love you.

  6. An encouraging post about re-charging! Thank you for taking and making the time to do it! More examples and models of this are needed. What struck me most was at the end… the “automatic re-charge”. Oh, how it would be nice if our brains, bodies, hearts, minds, and souls knew when to kick in that “automatic re-charge”. Maybe if we set up ourselves to take the time more regularly, then we wouldn’t deplete to “0”. Finding and doing things along the way to help us stay charged…. This is where your post spring-boarded my thoughts this afternoon. Thanks…. Debra

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