6 June 2018, by Rev. David A. Muench, Director of Ministerial Care
My time of preparation for another “transition in the journey” provides an opportunity to reflect upon the many transitions that have gone before. In fact, one might consider it a story of transitions, considering the 25 different homes in which I’ve lived and the 36 various “jobs” at which I’ve worked to this point in my life.
As I gather my thoughts for this, my final note for the MC2 Impulse, I’m drawn to the chain of relationships I’ve known along the way and the manner in which our loving Heavenly Father has used them to mold me into a servant for His purpose.
My mind is drawn to my relationship with elementary school teachers, who encouraged me to attend Concordia High School in Seward, Nebraska, to begin preparation for a career in church work. Obviously, the relationship with my parents was critical, as they not only allowed me to leave home at the age of 14 to attend high school 320 miles away but also provided various levels of necessary support. In addition, the confidence placed in me by my siblings that I could do something considered by them to be so daring was often all that kept me from coming home in those early months away.
Through the various twists and turns of the journey, my classmates, professors, coaches and others, including my in-laws, provided elements to challenge, humble and nurture me. Sometimes those elements were more difficult to receive than others, but they were always a part of the collaborative effort to hone this simple country boy from Iowa.
Venturing into the professional world, I gained much through the insights and patience of colleagues as I worked through the need to prove myself. Looking back on those days from this vantage point, I’m especially grateful for the relationship with parents of students, who were forgiving and encouraging.
I’m mindful of several mature colleagues with whom I had the privilege to work. Their willingness to mentor and teach me was significant. I know I was not always the most receptive. This was particularly true when I would get caught up with internal doubts about my own value. I could sometimes be a difficult person with whom to work.
It would be an unfortunate oversight if I were not to mention the rich blessings known by me and my family through relationships with gracious bankers, merchants, and medical professionals along the way. The manner in which many of them exemplified generosity has truly been monumental in the journey.
Without doubt, the most significant human relationship has been the one I’ve had with Mary for 51 years, 45 of them as her husband. She has always believed that God can use me, an “old chunk of coal” (as the song goes), and that has meant everything to me. The value of her willingness to sacrifice and assert herself with equal amounts of grace and balance cannot be overstated. She continues to be able always to do what needs to be done with a smile on her lips and in her heart.
The six children God has granted our relationship are a source of wonderful joy. They provide testimony to what God can do in spite of what I thought I knew about parenting. Each of our children is successfully engaging his or her own journey as well-balanced, successful Christian men and women.
But finally, the single most highly influential relationship I’ve known in this journey is the one our God has with me.
It is a relationship initiated by Him, sustained and nurtured by Him, and continues to be motivational for me as I transition into new opportunities for “promoting healthy relationships with God and others.” Through it all, He has been gracious, gentle and steady in His work of weaving all of the relationships of my life into a tapestry for His eternal purpose and to His glory.
With that, I bid you farewell with a prayer for God’s continued blessing to you, grateful for what He has done and is doing with and through us.
To God be the Glory