Posts Tagged ‘good intentions’

So I’ve served four congregations over the span of thirty years or so. That’s a lot of people, weddings, funerals, baptisms and all the rest. And it is not unusual to hear from a thoughtful soul from one of these past congregations updating me on some important development, most usually who has most recently passed on to glory. It’s not that I’m necessarily supposed to do something. Rather, it’s just something to know and tell.

As I mentioned to my flock this morning, I received a message on the church answering machine with an important announcement: “Pastor Tim, I just knew you would want to know this. We had an important death in the congregation. they died on such and such a day and the funeral will be on such and such a day at such and such time. Just knew you would want to know, thanks.” End of message.

Well, I appreciate being included in the loop. It’s just that the caller didn’t leave their name, the congregation or the name of the deceased! Very good intentions but I just know they didn’t accomplish their original purpose for calling.

And that made me think about many of our good intentions no matter what they are. So often the failure of our delivery system scuttles the importance of our message. One time I received a hand addressed envelop to yours truly. After opening it with my letter opener I pulled out the creamy stationary and unfolded it. The sender had gone to so much trouble. The only problem was they forgot to write the note they intended – a blank piece of paper. Well, it’s better than hate mail!

What we actually desire and do so often falls short of our intentions and hopes. Jesus always addressed the level of intentions, the thoughts of the heart that lead to outcomes. And maybe that is the place to begin here, to recognize that the original intention, no matter how successful in implementation, had the right spirit about it. We can forgive one another for the partial messages and blank pieces of paper because we all do something like it one time or another. But maybe we should thank God for all the good intentions of the heart that at least wanted to do the right thing. That is, after all, what really matters.

They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I don’t think so. I think the road to heaven is.