Pastor Steve Brown
Greetings to the Saints of St. Mark!
2 Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. (3 John 1:2)
Have you ever heard of a “360 Assessment?” If you are in business, you are probably familiar with it. It is a process to evaluate how a person is doing at their job from a variety of perspectives. It is meant to be a somewhat comprehensive evaluation because the employee’s work is looked at from a multi-source point of view. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have a 360 assessment of our life as a follower of Jesus? After all, we are complex human beings with a variety of facets to our life, and thereby, with our walk with God.
It is good to take time periodically to reflect on how we are doing as a Christ-follower. Because we do have a lot going on in our lives, the task could seem quite daunting and, therefore, we leave it undone. The best way to look at this is in terms of health. John wrote his friends a letter where he told them he was praying for them – praying that they would be as healthy in body as their souls are (3 John 1:2 quoted above). We know lots of ways to talk about the health of our bodies. Many of us even make time and spend the effort to have a yearly physical. We know how important out body’s health is. But our souls? Well, that assessment seems a little more vague to us and makes us think we can’t really evaluate the health of our soul.
The good news is starting in September, St Mark is offering a church-wide study called “Transformed.” It is a seven-week emphasis on looking at our lives from a variety of angles – a 360 of the soul if you will. We are seeking to understand how we are doing as we live the multi-faceted life of a human being. The idea is to take note of what are our strengths and weaknesses, to see where are our places of maturity and where some changes are needed for a healthier you and me. During our “Transformed” process, we will be looking at our spiritual health, our physical health, our mental health, our emotional health, our relational health, our financial health, and our vocational health. There is something for everyone to consider and reflect on. Even if you are retired, your vocations (Latin, for your “calling”) can relate to what God’s seeking for you to invest your time and energy in that was once needed to work a job. Our physical health seems so obvious to us but we may not realize that God wants us to have a healthy body and wants to be involved in our physical health.
To be honest, it is God’s involvement and our awareness of His presence and guidance for us that is probably the best determinant of our soul’s health. Jesus told us we are called to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength – and love our neighbors as our self (Mark 12:30). Loving God more with all we are has a relationship to our health in our relationships, mental state, emotional health – well, in all seven of these areas. Letting God listen with His stethoscope to our hearts and take His pen light and shine it on our lives will allow us to understand how healthier we are as well as where we need to be transformed.
The prayer of every pastor with St. Mark is John’s prayer for his friends mentioned above. To take it a step further, or to raise the stakes of how important it is that we do this as a church, the King James Version tells us John is praying that “Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospers.” Prosperity means a life that is not only living – it’s thriving. Jesus called it abundant living. So let’s take the time, make the time, and invest the time in looking at our lives and letting them be transformed as God works in our lives. After all, health is one of the things God wants to work in our lives, for our lives, and through our lives. He makes the difference.