What’s with the Title?

"The Pastor's Windshield" for Sunday, June 12, 2022

How is your windshield looking this summer? Is it caked with dead bugs? Dusted with pollen? Or are you looking through your windshield much at all these days? With the price of gas, perhaps you’re staying home more often or riding your bike in place of hoping in the car.

Several times I heard a friend of mine compare windshields with rear-view mirrors. Think about what you do with a rear-view mirror. As you’re driving down the road you take an occasional glance at it to see what the traffic is like behind you. Perhaps you see a car following too closely. Oftentimes, though, you look back and see nothing important, so your eyes return quickly to the road.

Ninety-nine percent of the time, you should be looking forward at the road ahead of you. Your eyes should be scanning everything you can see through your windshield, both the things that are close to your vehicle and the sights that are still far up the road, perhaps even on the horizon.

Your windshield is many times larger than your rear-view mirror or your side mirrors on your vehicle, and for good reason. For your safety and for the safety of your neighbor drivers and pedestrians, your eyes should be fixed ahead as you look through your windshield.

That can be a metaphor for life as well. Sometimes we need to glance back and reflect on things that we have undergone or accomplished in the past. It’s good to remember. That being said, we’re not living in the past anymore. We take that glance in the mirror looking back, but then we need to return to looking forward at the road ahead of us.

As we look forward in life, we ask questions such as, “What do I need to accomplish today? What’s going to be important in this season of my life? What are my priorities going to be? Who am I becoming? How can I continue growing and challenging myself? How can I make a difference? What can I do to serve my family and church family? How can I be a blessing to my neighbors and community?”

There are many other forward-looking questions we could ask ourselves. What about as a congregation? How can we “look through the windshield” as a church? 

A tendency in many congregations is to spend more time and energy looking back to years past than to what the future holds. Declining churches may hearken back to their “glory days,” remembering such things as full Sunday school classes, large choirs, or many more members than today.

It's good to look back, but some people (and some churches) can get stuck looking backward. Instead, let’s follow the example of the Apostle Paul who described his attitude to the Philippian Christians in this way: “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). 

By the time Paul wrote this letter to the Philippian church, he was already in the final season of this life. These were among his last written words. Although Paul had decades of his life and ministry to look back upon, he was much more focused on what was still ahead: ongoing ministry in this life until the Lord delivered him to the life eternal.

Paul’s words set an example for us. If we were to focus on doing just one thing, what would it be? For Paul, it was finishing his course faithfully and fruitfully. 

As we “press on” in the Lord’s mission and ministry that He has given His Church, we look forward to all that He has in store for us. With that in mind, I invite you to join me during the Bible study hour, especially on Sundays, June 12 & 19, as we join in looking through our “windshield” and consider how we can imitate St. Paul in faithfully pressing on toward the goal!

            Peace in Christ,

                        Pastor Kory Janneke