Broken Tomato Cages pt IV

I met another Vineyard pastor at a conference a few months back. In sharing some of the excitements and disappointments of planting a new church, I became a little impassioned. I began to talk about the brokenness in the City, and the diversity, and the presence of cultures from every continent, and the desire to live communally, and plant churches all over the city, and my frustration over consumeristic visions of the church, and our hope to engage some of the ignored segments of our society. It was at this point that he made a short, but oh so sweet remark. He told me that what we were doing was 'very important work.'

I began to cry.

I have dear friends who support me. Not only support, but they 'get' me, they believe in me, and they regularly affirm me. But they are my family, they are supposed to tell me I'm the greatest! This, on the other hand, was a stranger affirming me. I have been so used to hearing the opposite of what he told me. I am so used to being force-fed models of success that have no slot for any of the values that I hold dear. I am so used to wrestling with the tension of seeing real fruit, but not being able to point to the hundreds of people who flock to our building every week, and so feeling a sense of failure.

It was amazing to have someone essentially say: I see you! I see your dream! I see what you are trying to accomplish, and it is beautiful! Don't give up, and certainly don't trade it for someone else's vision of success! What you are doing is vital, it is pioneering work. It isn't easy, you may labor long before you see the fruit you hope for, but if the work isn't done, then the fruit will not come!

I felt like someone finally understood why I don't use tomato cages...


LindaFaye said...

Moments like that are precious! Precious as in valuable and uncommon. God is so faithful to encourage us when we need it most. I loved chatting with your wife today. I sure do love you guys!!

Steve S. said...

Thanks for the love!

Its great having you across the country, laboring for the same King!

Kyle Stevens said...

I am blessed to call you friend. I can't wait to come and see the "non Tomato cage" version of what you are doing. I pray you have more and more of these kinds of experiences as God connects you to more and more people thinking the same (or who at least see what you are doing as important).
You guys are awesome. I look forward to what form the community in Buffalo ends up taking...no matter how long it takes. Stick with it. You and your wife are amazing and God is so encouraged by your partnership with him in His work among the people of Buffalo.

Steve S. said...

Thank you, we are blessed by your words!