Pastor Kevin Redding
Adult Ministries Pastor, Shiloh Community Church
As I begin, let me thank the leadership of Shiloh for granting me my just completed sabbatical leave. I know that is a privilege for those who are Pastors here, and I am extremely grateful for the extended time off. I also want to thank the Shiloh Church family for your encouragement before, during and as I’ve returned. You have truly made me feel appreciated and valued. I count it an honor to be one of the Pastors here and (as God allows) I look forward to many, many more years of ministry at Shiloh.
During my time away, I was reminded yet again how important it is to be a part of a community with others who will encourage and challenge you. The other day, I was heading down to Tucson to watch the UofA basketball game, so I decided to leave early and play a golf course that I’ve seen (and wanted to play) every time I’ve passed it along I-10. Since I had the time, I decided “why not?”
As I arrived at the course, I was a little late for my tee time so they just sent me off on my own. After about the 3rd hole of not hitting a decent shot, I realized my problem…I was going too fast. I was hurrying in every aspect of what I was doing. Because I was by myself, I didn’t need to wait for anyone. That mindset took over everything about my pace…especially my swing.
After hole 3 or 4, getting more and more frustrated with lost golf balls and horrible “topped” shots, I rounded a corner on the way to the next hole and noticed something in a tree. It was a beautiful, bright red bird. It was just sitting there in the tree, looking as if it didn’t have a care in the world (it was probably quite entertained by my horrible golfing). Then, God brought the verse to my mind, “Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?” (Luke 12:24-26 ESV) That bird reminded me that it was worthless to be anxious about something as trivial as my (horrible) golf game, and more importantly to be anxious about life.
I finished the 8th hole (with a par I might add), and noticed another single golfer on the tee box of the 9th hole. I was walking off the green when he drove by, and asked if I wanted to join him the rest of the way. I did, and I had a much more relaxed round of golf. I didn’t necessarily play better, but I was more relaxed and it was much more enjoyable. I then realized how much I need others to slow me down…in golf and in life. On my own, I tend to run too far ahead and move too fast. On my own, I want to hurry God and run ahead of Him. I need others to slow me down, to encourage me to look around and to listen. I need others to remind me that God’s timing is better than mine, and He is never slow. I’m thankful for those people in my life, even when I want to be running ahead of them.