Be Happy & Thankful, But Never Satisfied

by Mike McCauley

Growing up, I had an impactful high school principal and coach who was a former NFL football player and whose expectations of us could be summed up simply and succinctly: “be happy and thankful but never satisfied.” He sought to instill in my teammates and me a definition of success that embraced change, constant improvement, and resiliency, balanced by the firm foundation of his support and commitment to us.

When one is coaching a “rebuilding” football team, or guiding students not yet meeting their full potential, these are important tenants to teach. Indeed, these principles echo frequently in my life today – as a father, husband, professional, and as a Christian and vestry member.

One Sunday earlier this month, our readings included the story from Genesis of Jacob wrestling with God, after which “the man said, ‘you shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven (or wrestled) with God and with humans and have prevailed.”

The Epistle that same Sunday was from 2nd Timothy, which Paul wrote to encourage and offer strength to his protege, Timothy, to carry on his ministry after Paul’s impending death. He wrote that all Scripture is breathed out by God, useful for teaching, for correction, and for training so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work. Paul charged Timothy to proclaim the message, be persistent in good times or bad, and to be patient in his teaching for the time is coming when people will turn away.

Those admonishments are central to my life as a Christian, and as a husband and father too.

Lauren and I came to St. John’s six years ago during a time of transition in our lives: moving from Charleston, with two kids under 3 years old, after having just returned to South Carolina from years working in Washington, DC. We found a thriving church that was also on the precipice of transition. Since that time, St John’s has shown its resilience over and over  – through calling a new rector, new staff, a new associate priest, much of which has happened in the context of COVID. Enduring such transitions in times of hardship would be – and have been – difficult for many parishes. Yet thanks to the wise and prudent stewardship of its members, St. John’s has remained strong, vibrant, with healthy youth and family ministries, new and diverse opportunities for service and mission in our community and abroad, and with more baptisms than funerals.

It is with these experiences in mind that Lauren and I made and increased our pledge to St. John’s for next year, and invite you to consider doing the same with us. So that for our children and grandchildren, our broader family in faith, and those we all encounter in our daily lives and personal ministries who are wrestling with their faith or are on the way to finding Christ, that they may find what we found at St. John’s: a community based in Scripture, that nurtures people, teaches them to love God and their neighbors, from which they may strive to be proficient, patient, persistent, and equipped for good work.

Thanks be to God!

Learn more about other important updates in this week’s church newsletter: The Epistle – Feb. 2, 2023

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