• Bill McLean

A Work in Progress

As part of Mental Health Month, I have been reflecting on the critical role of self-care in our daily lives and ministry. An important component of self-care is acknowledging that we are each a work in progress.

We are each unique and we have gifts we can grow. As it says in 1 Peter, “Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.” (1 Peter 4:10 NRSV) No matter how young or old we are, there are still new things for us to learn and new ways of doing things to experiment with.

Part of being a work in progress means that we continue to expand our knowledge throughout our lives. Sometimes gaining this knowledge is through formal channels like completing a degree or certificate program. While other times the knowledge is gained by listening to a podcast, reading a book or journal article, or watching a program online.

In addition to expanding our knowledge, we are called to learn new skills and refine the gifts we already possess. Some of this involves repetition and practice throughout our lifetimes as we refine and improve what we do. Similarly experimenting with new things and trying new approaches is also part of this journey. We see this with the musician who practices scales and technical pieces over and over while also exploring new genres of music to push in new directions.

We are fortunate to live in a time when opportunities for growing as a work in progress are accessible. Such as when during this season of pandemic limitations, many programs and events have shifted to online formats with either no registration fees or significantly reduced fees. Because of these shifts, I have been able to participate in a program that was on my wish list for years. Similarly, I have been able to participate in webinars and events that I had never contemplated until the unique possibilities of 2020.

This year has provided wonderful opportunities to experience young people connecting through online workshops for scouting merit badges and class movie viewing sessions online. And it has been just as wonderful to hear about exciting new online learning opportunities from a retired ruling elder during the presbytery’s weekly Coffee Fellowship.

Each of us have many gifts from God. And we are all called to learn and grow as a wonderful work in progress created by God.

How do you develop the gifts that God has given you? This week, what will you do to learn something new? And how will you try something new?

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you now and forever more.

Grace and peace, Bill Rev. William "Bill" McLean, II Presbyter for Congregational Care Presbytery of Southeastern Illinois

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