teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name... psalm 86:11

Thursday, November 3, 2011

come to the table...

I’ve shared a little bit already in other blogs, but this past year has been a unique season in my life… it’s been a time of transition, of stepping back and resting, of evaluating and regrouping... One of the biggest changes for me from the life I had grown so used to is that it’s the first time in a decade I haven’t led a group of High School girls. My heart beats for these small group times… for the relationships built, the discussions had, the laughter shared, the prayers offered… it’s what brings my heart joy.

By being removed from this environment, I feel like I’ve been able to reflect on what exactly it is I “do” in these ministry settings… Certain scriptures have come to light in new ways and settled different in me now that I’m still enough to process their significance for me.

Like today, I was reading a familiar passage in Mark 7... it started with an argument between the Pharisees and Jesus about the disciples not washing their hands before they eat… I mean, really?! (Obviously, there are cultural and religious implications that run deeper than the surface would suggest) In response, Jesus quotes Isaiah 29:13 to them:

“These people {the Pharisees} come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”

It’s easy to gang up on the Pharisees and point the finger at them for their ridiculous legalism, but that last little part of what Jesus said caught my eye and got me thinking… what if empty traditions and hollow actions were all they were ever taught? What if all they were shown by their leaders is how to go through the motions of faith, without ever actually experiencing the heart behind these traditions? These are convicting questions for a person who's been in a teaching position...

So what does this look like for today? Teaching that focuses on behavior modification rather than Jesus- instructing others on how to play church and follow the rules of being “good”… but neglecting to communicate the big picture- the heart of God, the undiluted gospel. Sometimes we as teachers get so caught up in fixing the outside that we forget it’s more important for God to do work on the inside. We need to be reminded… I need to be reminded… that true grace allows for faith that looks a little rough around the edges sometimes.  It’s more important to teach those listening to us how amazing it is to eat a meal with Jesus, than to rebuke them for not washing their hands before they eat.

Being a communicator of God’s truth is not an easy task… we’re reminded repeatedly in scripture that this role should not be taken lightly. I was encouraged this week by another verse that seems to be the perfect prayer to follow this thought up with:

“Give me a God-listening heart so I can lead your people well,
discerning the difference between good and evil.
For who on their own is capable of leading your glorious people?"
~1 kings 3:9


  1. As the Mum of a sixteen year old girl let me say thank you for what you do for young girls. They seriously need great mentors to champion them through life.

  2. So true, your thoughts here. I wrote about this very thing last week in a post called Religion of Approval. Had an epiphany about it in church last Sunday. Sounds like you are hearing His voice in the time of listening. Praying you get clarity. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment on my blog today!

  3. Hey Denise- As far as I can tell, you don't have a way to email you on your blog, so my best bet was to leave a comment. I wanted to let you know that the gap between your posts was noticed by me ;) I think we are both at a stage of blogging where it can feel frustrating- trying to build an audience and wondering if it is worth it. After we started commenting back and forth to each other, I subscribed to your blog, and I look forward to hearing what you have to say. It may be just that life got busy, or it may be that you are feeling frustrated. Just wanted to say don't give up. And email me any time if you want to chat privately about life and blogging! - Steph

  4. Steph, you are so sweet... thanks for taking time to notice & to encourage! It's true- life has gotten busy and well, this blog is left at the bottom of the list unfortunately. Perhaps tonight I'll be intentional about carving out some time to write though... AND I added my email to my page, you know, for next time ;) Glad we're blog buddies!