S.O.S. Matthew 12.33
It has been a very strange week, but I’ll get back to that at the end.
First allow me a look in the rearview mirror: in the spring of this year, I began asking God for a vision of what Women of Passion1 should look like for the Fall, which is now here. [Vision? Was I looking for some New Age smoky picture in a dream? Of course not. Since I first read it 13 years ago as a leader on a pastoral staff, this definition of vision lodged in my brain:
vision is a picture of the future that produces passion in people2.] That definition has broad application for leaders in any setting.
God delights in giving these sorts of answers to those who earnestly pray to him. So in the quiet of my hotel room on a Sunday morning in May, while visiting my college son, Dylan in Flagstaff, I asked God again, ‘Where do you want to take us? Where should I point my women, my corporate brothers, and readers of Morning Briefings worldwide?’ Then I sat down with paper and pencil, confident God would give me direction if I was STILL and listened… It came. Curious?
Study. Outreach. Service. S.O.S. God might as well have written on my Moleskine page with a pencil himself: ‘Teach them to study my Word, apply it to their lives. Inspire them to extend to others the love and truth they have found in Me. Challenge them to serve someone in My name.’ Study. Outreach. Service. S.O.S. It not only painted a passionate picture of the ‘what could be’ in my mind, but also a symbol that captured it—an old-fashioned lifesaver:
S. Study – that’s what the apostle Paul instructed the young pastor, Timothy, to do. I remember the verse from my youth which I memorized in the King James Version: “Study to show thyself approved unto men, a workman that needeth not to be afraid, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2.15 We study as we read and dig into the written words of God, that he gave to us to know and follow him.
O. Outreach – From Jesus’ teaching that we studied earlier this year in the ninth chapter of Matthew, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” Matthew 9.37. Jesus would say to you and me,
‘Do you know how many people are looking for answers for their lives right now? Do you know how many people are trying to find love in all the wrong ways and places? Do you know how many people are trying to find their purpose, trying to find meaning, and the reason for life itself? Do you know how many have all but wrecked their lives, and yet I can redeem them?’
Jesus looks to you and he looks to me-- ‘Tell them, invite them to where they can hear about how much I love them. You hold the keys to the kingdom! What are you waiting for—an invitation? Then here it is-- ‘I Jesus, invite you, Margie, Jeff, Marco, Cynthia, Laura, Francis, Andre, Tobias, et al, to tell people the difference I have made in your life. Reach out to others; genuinely love them.’ Love each other in the same way I have loved you,3 Jesus said.
S. Service – Jesus taught in Matthew 12. 33, that a good tree will produce good fruit, right? A natural response of experiencing God’s love is to care about others--desire to bless someone else, to look around and see who has needs, and then insert yourself as part of the solution—in short, to serve. Bob Dylan had it so right in “You Gotta Serve Somebody.” ‘You may be a construction worker working on a home…You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome…You might own guns and you might even own tanks…You might be somebody's landlord, you might even own banks. But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes you're gonna have to serve somebody…’4
Jesus was our example in serving; he picked up the basin and towel and washed the dirty feet of his disciples. We are called to do it, but the crazy thing is, it is good, and it feels right when we serve others. S.O.S.
Crazy week? Yes, my email completely crashed, then I was rear-ended while at a red light and sustained a concussion. The doctor told me to rest my brain—no computer, no reading … what??! Nonetheless, Women of Passion launched on Thursday and God was present, as were many South Orange County women. God is good. And now, I’m back.
S.O.S. God, save our souls. (Morse code) In turn we will study your Word, reach out to others with your love, and serve them.
- many archived studies from Matthew
1 – Women of Passion concluding its 15th year—Bible study community I lead. Meets Thursdays, 9.30 am in San Juan Capistrano.
2 – Courageous Leadership, Bill Hybels
3 – John 15.12b
4 - http://www.metrolyrics.com/gotta-serve-somebody-lyrics-bob-dylan.html
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