April 3, 2012
Last week was especially difficult. I had to write a funeral service for a young mother of two.
The honor of preaching a funeral in such tragic circumstances is among the most precious of pastoral tasks. Its also among the most difficult to prepare for.
I look at the picture of the family as I prepare. Im seeking to immerse myself in their pain. I want to feel the emotion of what I am entering into. This enables me to unite myself and my funeral message with the mourners who will be in that room. It also helps me to manage the emotion that will surface during the service.
I rarely write out manuscripts for my sermons. Instead I jot down phrases and transition statements that only make sense to me. I was preparing my message for this funeral in the same way when my one word interrupted me.
While praying through the message and writing my transition statements, I looked up and saw my one word written on a 3 x 5″ note card above my desk: INVEST.
Seeing the word, I suddenly saw an opportunity. Looking through the lens of My One Word forced me to ask the question: Who needs the opportunity to learn to do what I am about to do?
This wasn’t a question of arrogance, but of stewardship. One of the reasons I chose the one word INVEST this year was to remind me that God has granted me the opportunity to invest in and develop other staff members at my church. To help them learn to deal well with circumstances like the one I was facing.
So I called several of our pastors and suggested they attend the funeral. Then I spent the next three hours writing out the entire funeral service message. I didn’t write it out to aid me during the service; I wrote it out to aid my staff. Next week, I’ll sit down with these young pastors and walk them through the manuscript - and the process of addressing tragedy in a way that helps people grapple with mortality, while calling them to faithfulness in spite of their pain.
Had I not looked at this situation through the lens of my one word, I would’ve missed this opportunity to invest in my staff. Hopefully my investment of time with them will help them to some day invest well in others who grieve.
Your one word will interrupt your day if you let it. It will redirect you mid-task - helping you see important stuff you might otherwise have missed.
How has your one word interrupted you recently? What change in course did you make because of it?