April 2013

“Lasso the Moon”

The movie “It's a Wonderful Life” is a 1946 American Christmas drama produced and directed by Frank Capra, based on the short story "The Greatest Gift", written by Philip Van Doren Stern in 1939. It is the story of a man, George Bailey, who grew up in a small town, Bedford Falls, and unfortunate or fortunate, ending up staying there. George had big dreams of leaving little ole Bedford Fall, traveling all over, and making his mark on the world. The ambitious George told his girlfriend, "Mary, I know what I'm going to do tomorrow and the next day and the next year and the year after that. I'm going to leave this little town far behind, and I'm going to see the world. Italy, Greece, the Parthenon, the Coliseum. Then I'm coming back here, and I'll go to college and see what they know, and then I'm going to build things. I'm going to build air fields. I'm going to build skyscrapers a hundred stories high. I'm going to build bridges a mile long." As it turns out, George was wrong. Through a series of events, George pretty much did the same thing for the rest of his life. He worked at the little ole building and loan company that his father founded, which help families get into their own homes. 

George’s plans were to travel, attend college, and build great structures-most likely making a name for himself. However, God's plan for George was to do the ordinary thing- to faithfully love his wife and children, to faithfully run the building and loan business, and to faithfully help the citizen of Bedford Falls. For many of us, our lives follow George Bailey’s course. We start out with “lassoing the moon” and end up with the ordinary. Over the years we have seen our dreams fade away, and Father time has convinced us that these dreams will never be fulfilled by us. 

But like George Bailey, has God given us something better than our dreams. Though my life is not star struck and I am not a pastor of a 

mega-church, the irony is that I am doing everything I dreamed of doing: I am married to the most beautiful woman whom I love (and she loves me), I have four wonderful children, I have traveled the world serving the Lord on numerous missions trips, and I am doing what I love-being a pastor in a church. Maybe George Bailey and I didn’t lasso the moon, but God has given us a pretty good ordinary life. I have found that God’s agenda for me is much more common or mundane, and this has not always been easy to accept. Yet, this where I am in God’s will, so I should serve Him with joy and gladness. 

In “Christ Plays In Ten Thousand Places,” Eugene Peterson recounts the story of the fourth century church father Gregory of Nyssa whose brother Basil had arranged for him to be made bishop of Cappadocia. Gregory ob¬jected! He didn't want to be stuck in such an out-of-the-way place. His brother told him he didn't want Gregory to obtain distinction from his church, but to confer distinction upon it. Is this not what Christ wants for us as well? To seek the good in the places in which he has placed us, and to confer distinction upon them by serving Him with humility there? 

George Bailey, like most of us, did not know the impact of his life upon the people around him. We do not know the impact we make upon those around us, therefore, may we be faithful to our God and serve Him and His people, even in the ordinary places of life. Maybe we didn’t lasso the moon of our dreams and make a name for ourselves, but we can have an impact on people around us by being a faithful servant of God in our ordinary environment. The path of glory is often an obscure one. It is the way of the cross.

                                                                                                                            -Pastor Mike Kotrla