Part of my ministry at the church is counselling. I work with parents, adults who are trying to improve their relationships, and the men who are part of the fathers’ group that I wrote about recently. And one thing that strikes me is that the vast majority of people want to improve themselves for the sake of others – for the sake of holding onto something that is almost intangible, something that is hard to put into words.
As I work with these people, I am aware that they are God’s children, and that they are made to follow his calling on their lives. Yet, for the most part, I can’t just come out and say this to them. Apart from it being unethical, it is also quite often inappropriate to simply put that out there. But, surprisingly, I have been asked about faith by about 90% of my clients, of their own volition. So, it seems to me, that there is something deep inside of us that reaches out to be a part of God’s eternal plan for the world. I don’t believe that God is a like a general, micromanaging everything, but I do believe that he has a plan and we all fit into that.
As I was thinking about a father’s group from a few years ago, I remembered a particular father who really worried me. On the first week his head was down, he looked defeated, he was barely able to engage with the questions and the group, and he made almost no eye contact. He had many challenges in his life and I wondered how he would go getting here every week. As it happened, I wasn’t the only one seeing this. One of the more senior fathers spotted it and started to come alongside him – communicating to him that he was valuable and more than the sum of his failures and that, as a bunch of fathers, we were in this together. In the proceeding weeks, this father still didn’t engage to the extent that other fathers might, but he was there every week and he took everything very seriously. He was on his own journey through the course. He was being called to be a better Dad – to sow seeds of life into his family rather than the seeds of despair.
There is this transcendent desire in people to create, what I would call, the kingdom of God. That, through the fight against sin in ourselves, and outside, we can make a world in which people can thrive. As Christians I think it’s important to realise that creating the Kingdom is not easy, and that at some point in time we are all looking down, not making eye contact and wondering about our worth in this world. But I want to encourage you to remember that you are infinitely valuable, that you are meant for something greater than self interest and that you can majorly affect the lives of others, for the better.