Monday morning often starts with the pastor battling the blues. Physically and emotionally exhausted by the day before (it's a real effort for me to be nice of that long!), it can be hard to get out of bed and get the week in perspective.
This morning I was pretty emotionally upbeat but physically whacked. My face just wouldn't work. Bits appeared to have got stuck together and my skin seemed to have shrunk and got tighter over night. I stumbled downstairs an hour after my alarm had gone off for the first time.
Then followed five minutes moving round the kitchen "being helpful". This involved picking things up to put them away, wandering around aimlessly with them, before putting them down on a surface somewhere no closer the cupboard where they live. I gave up "being helpful" and headed for the kettle to a get a dose of the legitimate Christian stimulant, before heading for my Bible.
Armed with a flagon of coffee I opened 2 Thessalonians with a degree of apprehension. I needed encouragement and off the top of my head all I could remember about this letter was that it contained the "Anti-Christ" and the "Man of Lawlewssness", whom I have struggled to understand in the past and seemed unlikely to give the spiritual pick me up I was looking for to put a spring in my step, so that I could attack a week that looked like it had been planned by a sadist.
I set off through chapter 1. I had to read it twice, because the first time I used the "subconscious meditative technique", which meant I couldn't remember the beginning by the time I got to the end. One swig of coffee later I tried again and was deeply encouraged by this...
2 Thessalonians 1:11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.
In my dopey haze Paul's prayer reassured me that it is God who works in me. He is making me worthy of being His servant. He is changing my character, so that my longing to be a better person is being fulfilled (though I don't notice it...). He is using my efforts to serve him, so that they bear fruit, despite my sinfully mixed motives.
That knowledge is a more effective kick start to my day than even an intense double expresso.