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Pastoral Pondering: You have to ask yourself, is it worth it?

We decided to go pick blackberries last night. We knew the perfect spot and hoped there would be lots. We weren’t disappointed! Huge bushes full of berries.

I would tell you where to find this luscious find of delicious berries, but it was private property and I’d hate to get you into trouble. We brought a small container and wished we had grabbed a larger one.

But if you’ve picked blackberries before, you know that there is a cost to picking them. They are prickly with thorns and often the best ones are up high or deeper within the bush. If the blackberry bush has been around awhile, it may have woven itself around other trees and shrubs, and it simply is quite a bit of work to grab the berries. In fact, it can be downright painful.

At one point last night I saw the best branch of berries but it was higher up, deeper in and fraught with thorny danger. It made me think twice if the berries were worth it.

Have you ever considered reaching for something, but then perhaps wondered, “Is this worth it?” Maybe it was a goal or dream or perhaps something more internal, something you hoped to change but hesitate when the “cost” seems too high.

God knows this about us and seems to be patient with our hesitation and concern when something before us (or within us) seems to have a cost. The words of encouragement in scripture abound for those of us who are weighing options, counting the cost, considering, perhaps even praying. Here are just a few:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” Ephesians 6:10

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” Psalms 28:7

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” I Corinthians 9:24

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6

“And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.” Philippians 1:6

Some things are simply worth the risk, the thorny danger, and God brings the strength and power to do the “good thing” that he intends, both in us and through us. I hope you are encouraged to go for it! As I sat at home with my berries last night, I was so very glad I did.

Di Endicott is associate pastor at Northside Community Church in Newberg



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