“August 9th Letter from the Shepherds”

Elder Message to Members – 8/09/20

Dear Brothers and Sisters –

Warm greetings and blessings!

During one of our (elders) weekly Zoom meetings last week, we were considering this next communication to all of you. When we realized we don’t really have any significant new updates to share, we turned our focus to individuals and things that are good and right at South Bumby and, in no time, had a very long list. We want you to know how truly thankful we are for the many in our flock who work and labor tirelessly – and usually without asking – to keep our evangelism, benevolence and spiritual edification alive and well during these extraordinary times. Even though you may not see many of these special efforts of time, talent and abilities, we hope you know they are there and join us in being grateful.

Well, that discussion evolved into a conversation about Philippians 4:8 that reads, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”

There are some strong words and phrases in that verse – true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, good repute, excellence, worthy of praise. Do you ever consider what these words and phrases all have in common? They all are positives in both worldly and spiritual senses!

It’s easy and perhaps natural to get caught up in all of the negativity and stresses of these times. You know the language that dominates the news – pandemic, social unrest, political squabbling, social distancing, etc. What do all of these things have in common? Yes, they’re inherently negative!

Contrast these negatives with the positives in Phil. 4:8; then look at the end of that scripture. There’s a command for God’s children to let our minds “dwell on these things.” What does it mean to “dwell on these things?” One commentary suggests the meaning is to consider them; meditate on them; give them serious attention. That requires focused thinking. All of us need to make special efforts to take time and set aside the drama in our individual lives and think about the good people and things going on, including those in your South Bumby spiritual family. You’ll feel better if you do this on a regular basis.

But let us suggest one more related opportunity. Channel some of your positive thinking to someone else, especially those you know are struggling right now in some way. Make a phone call, send a card, run an errand, whatever you personally can do. You’ll feel better, but something else might happen… they likely will be uplifted and thankful, too.

Ours is a loving and giving body of believers, and we, as elders, see so much of that on a continuing basis and whenever a special need arises. We thank you and are thankful for every South Bumby member. Please take care of yourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually during these challenging times. We love you all!

Jim, Ralph and Walcot