Maybe you don’t fight traffic to get to work every day like you used to. You are still busy but you have more time now than you did.
You love the Lord and you don’t want to be harsh or ugly about it but you are concerned with how our culture is moving away from God. Sometimes what you see makes you worried or afraid. Usually it just breaks your heart. You remember times when things didn’t seem so bad.
The pain of it hits close to home. It involves people you love deeply. It keeps you awake at night. It burdens you.
Sometimes you are frustrated, burdened, that it seems there is little you can do about it. You are concerned for beloved family members who don’t seem to have a deep love for God and desire to please Him.
You don’t have the influence you once had. There are things you used to be able to do you just can’t do any more. You feel like younger people often patronize or disregard your warnings, concerns and council. Those who should listen to you really don’t.
What should you do? Here are a few pastoral suggestions:
1. Be an example. Show the people in your life what it looks like to delight in God and love others. Show and Tell, but mostly show. (See Titus 2)
2. Pray. When you need what only God can give, pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray alone. Pray with others. Pray without ceasing. Pray often and believe that God works through prayer in his own time and in his own way. Pray. (James 5:16) “…the prayer of a righteous person has great power…”
3. Don’t despair. Be joyful. “…put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…” (Isaiah 61) God will accomplish His purposes. Trust Him. Don’t turn cynical or ugly and impatient. Don’t yield to discouragement. “…greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world…”
4. Speak into the lives of people when the Spirit prompts you to do so, but spend a great deal of time listening. Try to understand deeply. Speak and write words when you are sure they are well-timed and wise. Watch for readiness and openness before you speak. “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:24–26, ESV)
5. Above all love. This is powerful. It never fails. It is greater than eloquence and sacrifice and heroic acts… simply love and never stop loving. (1 Cor. 13)