I have two weeks to study for the test. That’s two weeks to read, two weeks to take notes, two weeks to make connections. I hear this test is going to be a doozy… it’s the Leadership Retreat and we’re supposed to come together as a leadership team. The preparation for the retreat is simple, a steady diet of prayer and Scripture for the next two weeks. I’m nervous, because I’ve never been part of a leadership team before. We’re supposed to come that Friday with our Scriptures on hand and all prayed up. I have so many Scriptures pop up in my life, how do I decide what’s meant for me, for the blog, or for Church?
I lack confidence in my ability to discern. I want so much for my way to be God’s way, that I worry I’m putting words in his mouth to “speak” into my heart. For example, I read daily at Slactivist. A couple of days ago, just after I’d been told to read the Bible and pray for a word about the direction of Messiah, I saw this post: Test everything. Hold on to the good (1 Thessalonians 5:21). It stuck with me. It was like I was pulling that Scripture around in a little red wagon, carting it through my day. I couldn’t let it go. And still I wonder, is that for me, for the blog readers, or for the Church? At the very least, I treated it like a starting place. I went to Thessalonians.
Just before that, in the same chapter, from verse 13, “Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire…” Yes! That’s how a Church body should behave. This is definitely a word to take to the retreat. But wait, isn’t that for everyone? Isn’t that for me?
Then, in 2 Thessalonians 3:10-15, “For even when we [Paul, Silas and Timothy] were with you, we gave you this rule: If a man will not work, he shall not eat. We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right. If anyone does not obey our instructions in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.” I don’t think the evangelists are preaching against charity, here. They weren’t talking about real food, they were talking about spiritual food. There are people who just aren’t working for their spiritual food and they need to be. They are, in their idleness of action, critiquing instead of doing. Surely, this is the word for Messiah Lutheran Church in Cypress, Texas! or is it for my readers? or is it just for me?
It all sounded so familiar, so Paulian, so like the Scripture I quoted in my high school yearbook, “But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach and this is what you believed” 1 Corinthians 15:10-11. I know that’s for me, and maybe for my readers, and maybe for those leaders, and quite possibly for Messiah. I think God speaks to me in tangents, because that’s the way my brain works.
How does he speak to you? Has he given you a word for the Church? My attempts at discernment means that I’m going to be testing everything, and holding on to the good.