telling a new story…

Yesterday’s sermon on being an inspirational you really struck a chord with me. Harry spoke about the Genesis account of God breathing life into the dust and making humans. God made something out of nothing.

I am reading through the book of Exodus right now so I found myself reflecting on Moses. Moses was an insecure, stuttering, murder whose parents had given him away to be raised by complete strangers. He really didn’t have a great future ahead of him and he certainly wasn’t our stereo typical ideal church leader.

But… God in his mercy and grace chose to inspire Moses. He breathed life into Moses and made someone who seemed destined to be a failure into someone wonderful. God gave Moses everything he needed to be successful! Moses became a selfless leader who led Israel out of destruction, slavery and a dismal story into promised freedom giving all of the children of Israel a chance to tell a better story. There are few leaders that have ever been as great as Moses.

It strikes me that God is in the business of redeeming people and he invites us to practice this as well. Unfortunately, the church seems to fumble with this call, especially the Mennonite Church, which I love dearly.

We seem to be in the business of making people aware of their shortcomings, holding them back so that they will not think to highly of themselves. Generally speaking, the church at large has been in the business of convincing people of their sins and shortcomings instead of inspiring people and showing them that they have value as marvelous creations of God. We fail miserably at inspiring them to believe  that their lives can tell another story and showing them that God is already at work in them and around them.

When Jesus first appeared to the disciples after the resurrection in John… he breathed on them and they were saved. He went on to tell them that they would do greater things than what they had witnessed in his own ministry… keep in mind that these persons were also fishermen, tax collectors and generally the socially despised of their time. Yet, Jesus empowers them to tell another story with their lives. Not only that, but he invites them to join him in inspiring others to do great things.

Perhaps we as the church need to practice telling a better story to the persons in our communities. We need to breathe this same life giving, inspiration into the persons we meet. Jesus’ entire ministry was about making something out of nothing… redeeming what seemed to be unredeemable, touching what seemed to be untouchable. Aren’t we supposed to be about the same thing?

2 replies
  1. Becky
    Becky says:

    Beth…as you speak of Moses I began to imagine a small group of righteous people. Who spent their days writing stories, stories of murder. People who believed their job was to continually remind Moses of his fallen past. “Mo you call yourself a leader? I remember the day when you couldn’t even lead yourself.”

    Could it be these reminders push leaders towards the One who gives life, combating the past, overlaying the present with hope shielding us from our sin? Could it be as we fight the enemy messages we become stronger in resolve?

    Reply
    • Beth Jarrett
      Beth Jarrett says:

      Great thoughts, Becky. I believe that has been the case over all in my own life… I should say by the grace of God! However… as I look at the struggles that we are experiencing as church… absent generations… a steady decline… I wonder if our criticism is caging people instead of setting them free… not only that, but I wonder if we have given ourselves such a bad reputation that maybe people are even afraid to come.

      I love it that Moses was able to overcome all of these things through the power of God… there is no mistaking that! I believe that it available to all of us. But for those who do not yet have wings or haven’t learned to fly… I worry that “righteous criticism” could toss them out of the nest before they are ready. That thought makes me sad and… if I look at the statistics in our own denomination and others… it tells me that something is wrong.

      Reply

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