“Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control…” Aaron, as leader, attempts to side-step responsibility for the people’s idolatry, wandering from God, and wild partying. Moses sees through Aaron’s excuse and sees that Aaron’s leadership sanctions their wanderings. Perhaps Aaron wanted the people to like him. What responsibility do Christian leaders have to keep God’s people from running wild? Where have you led like Aaron? Forgive us for “going along” rather than leading people toward your ways. Strengthen us to lead with loving firmness. Amen.
“Let both of them grow together until the harvest…” Preoccupation of leaders with perfection and “weeding out” those who are not on board with the current vision is
not a healthy approach. The Master is not ambivalent about the problem of weeds; he is patient to see the problem solved later, in a way that benefits the growth of the young wheat. How has my preoccupation with “weeds” hurt my leadership and ministry with the “wheat”? Forgive me, O Father, and help me to wait with You. Amen.
“If she loses one coin, does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?” Most commonly I’ve heard this parable preached as an example of how we as Christians should behave. Though this may be true, let us pause to reflect that the parable is really about God, who, like the woman, carefully and thoroughly searches for her prized possession. You and I are God’s prized ones. Too what extent has God sought you/us? What are the full implications of a God who cherishes us so? Thank you loving me so O God!
“…the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how…” “Stay busy, work hard, and success will come,” so claims some leadership gurus. What a contrast to the farmer who is active in planting/harvest, but waits dependently on the mysterious growing work of God, while he himself sleeps and wakes each day. Do I focus too much on my success in matters in which I have no control? How do I wait with
dependence and patience like the farmer? Where do I need to trust that God will grow the seed? God of mysterious growth, grow your kingdom. Amen.
“Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous.” I can still hear my mother’s response to this parable: “It’s just
not fair.” As insiders with God we often love to share stories of “amazing grace” to us, but our heart misses a beat with God when we are surprised and grumble about His grace to others. Is all my work, ministry, and leadership worth a greater reward than others? How does that idea shape my heart? As you did with Jonah Lord, teach me your heart.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” One of the great temptations of Christian life and leadership is lack of focus: the desire, the temptation, the downfall of trying to do everything and all things. Perhaps a lack of joy reveals my divided heart. How do we discern the one thing that demands all my investment? Focus me Lord Jesus on the “one thing” that matters.
“It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” I have heard the verses before this many times; about compassion of the Lord being new every morning. Can we discern the presence of God and his mercies in our lives though surrounded with the busyness and noise all around us in the world, in the church and in ministry? What would it take for me to “wait quietly”? What might I discover near “still waters”?
Make quiet spaces in my life that I may discern your faithful mercies each day
O Loving Father. Amen.
“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” How earnest is my “seek”? Does my soul thirst? Do I feel it in my body? Have I come to find there is no water except Jesus, the Living Water? What do I thirst for more than anything in life? Quench the deepest thirst of my soul, O God. Lead me to refreshment from the deep wells found only in you.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” It is common in leadership to hear talk of mission, goals, and objectives and the need to prioritize. Jesus speaks these words in the context of “not putting the needs of life first.” Perhaps in our day, these words need to be heard in contrast to our “wants” as well. As we begin a new year, perhaps it is right to sit with the question: Is God’s Kingdom, living out his ways in all of my life, the priority of my life? Give me a heart for one thing Lord. Amen.
|“He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit…” Salvation involves “washing,” ”rebirth,” and “renewal,” Christian leaders live with the wonderful truth that both in their own lives and in the lives of those we lead change and transformation is possible. Where do I see God’s renewal in my life these days? Who may I think is beyond hope, that God might transform this New Year? – Save us Lord Jesus: wash, rebirth, renew us by the power of the Holy Spirit this year. Amen|