Unlikely Friends and Partnerships // M-Note 2.5.2021

This morning, I met a friend for coffee. Normally, this sort of thing would happen over Zoom, but he is moving away, so this was my last chance to see him and say goodbye. He and his wife have been instrumental to The Gathering from the very beginning, supporting our ministry with their time, energy, wisdom, and money. From the launch of the church 14 years ago, to the beginning of our safe water ministry in Mozambique, the expansion of our sites, and the construction of a new building, he was there. Over this time, we have also grown to be close personal friends. So, the time together was bittersweet. 

Before we left, we each had some words of thanks that we wanted to share, words that we had prepared ahead of time. After sharing them and fighting back a few tears, I marveled at the unlikely nature of our friendship. Nearly 18 years ago when we met at a prior church, we were in completely different stages of life, two decades separated in age, and in completely different socio-economic circles. On paper, no one would have guessed that we would become close. But, God clearly had something different in store for us. Something completely unexpected. 

After working on a few committees together, we bonded over lunch and talked about our varying experiences of past churches. We shared common frustrations, aspirations, interests, and hopes. At the time, I was dreaming about a new church, and my friend was discontent, ready for something new in his own life. It is now my belief that God brought us together, not only for friendship, but to form a partnership and shared ministry. Over the past 14 years, God has used this partnership to do things far greater than either of us could have done on our own. And it all was so unexpected. 

I am grateful for my friend, and I will miss him and his wife. But, I am reminded today of how unexpected life with God can be. There are things that don’t make sense on paper, or scenarios that we never would imagine for our life. But, God sees them. God sees possibilities when we don’t. God can see pathways when all we see is dense cover. God can bring incredibly different people together in beautiful partnerships to accomplish unimagined tasks. That is the kind of God we serve. So, today I am reminded to be open, to be ready, to be willing to explore places and pathways that seem unlikely. I am reminded not to quickly say no, or close off possibilities or people that don’t fit my plan or expectation. Most of all, I am reminded that God can, and often does, surprise me so that the future never looks quite how I think it will look. And to me, that is hopeful. 

Today, I hope that God surprises you in some small way, and that you stay open and ready for those unexpected twists and turns in your own life. Have a great weekend, and I will see you in worship.

Peace+
Matt

P.S. This weekend, I am starting a new series Essential: Why Work Matters. We will be exploring how to better understand the role work is meant to play in our lives. This is a great series for new people, so share it with a friend and invite them to check out church online - no matter where they live. Also, The Gathering is officially hiring TWO new staff positions:  a Digital Media Manager and Audio/Visual Coordinator. All the details can be found here , so share it with someone you think would be a great fit for our church.
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