The Very Important Title

The Very Reverend.

I don’t know who he was, but his photo and name flashed across the screen, advertising his upcoming appearance. It was his title that caught my attention.

Apparently (after doing some Google research), it’s not an unusual title in some customs and denominations. I mean no disrespect, but I began to wonder how it would seem if we began to use the practice with other titles.

The Very Mother

The Very Teacher

The Very Officer

The Very Cashier

The Very Son

The Very Athlete

The Very Musician

The Very Business Owner

I am all for being the best we can be in anything we do.  But “The Very” seems to add an air of importance that undermines what is most important in faith and everyday life: The Very Servant. How can we humbly serve, put ourselves last, and die to ourselves to live in and for Christ when we call attention to our position, worthiness, and service?

Why do we have to call attention to ourselves or attain a lofty title in order to find worth? Worth isn’t actually ours to define, determine, and assign. The Very Sovereign God has that covered. Only He doesn’t need to add anything to His name or identity. His worth is in who He is. He reveals Himself through His many names. But He never exaggerates. He claims the truth. When we try to exalt ourselves, we end up humbled by Him.

It’s much better to choose to be humble, because it positions us well in the first place. And it reflects reality and truth. We aren’t Truth; that identity is fully accomplished and encompassed by Jesus. But we get to be His servant, which means we get to reflect, seek, and rely on Him.

And that thrills and fulfills me…very, very, very much.

Snacks of Scripture

I enjoy scrolling through my social media feeds and seeing encouraging notes and images:

images

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11870933_942650885778513_7621822489878167715_nIn fact, I’ve recently shared all of these images on the Pure Purpose Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram. I share an image every morning and often share others through the day as I scroll through my feeds and come upon what others have posted. I assume (hope) people will stumble upon the images and be encouraged or challenged.

But recently, as I scrolled through social media, I wondered if all these images and soundbites are as helpful as we want them to be. Certainly, God can use them in any way He desires. He can reach people who wouldn’t otherwise never be reached. He can deliver the perfect message in His perfect timing. He can nourish and challenge people as they open up their social media feeds.

But we can distort the intentions of His Word. We can come across the images we most want to hear and cling to, claim, and share them, while ignoring the ones that stretch and challenge our faith. We can easily lose the context of God’s promise or Jesus’ words or someone’s lamentation, praise, or teaching and make it fit what we want it to fit. We can claim something as true, plant it in our hearts, and pass it along to others without stopping to digest it.

Are we becoming content by our social media snacks instead of settling in to feast on God’s Word?

Pause before you share it. Pause before you claim it. Invite God into those pauses and let Him nourish you with His truth. He has prepared a feast.

Lesson from Nature: When Smooth Is Just Our Imaginations

©PurePurpose.org
©PurePurpose.org

It’s easy to get tripped up, even among the beauty of life. Even when we’re savoring where we are, we need to pay attention to the details. We can get so caught up in our own journey that we forget to consider the trouble spots.

It’s like that for Christians sometimes. We stand firmly on the assurance of God’s truth, yet our familiarity creates a bubble around us that causes us to forget how to relate and reach out to others. We imagine things are going smoothly and are shocked when we trip over others’ questions or confrontation. Or perhaps we’re not shocked. We actually expect it, but we don’t really invite it. We don’t engage with others; we get defensive and give pat answers that satisfy us but isolate others.

You don’t need to have all the answers. You need to follow the One who does. Jesus wasn’t hesitant to answer questions. He didn’t answer with arrogance. He challenged with respect and taught with love. He was bold. He went where God led, not just where He was comfortable.

If we keep focusing on what we’re against instead of who we’re for, we’ll isolate ourselves from both.

 “You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? (Matthew 5:43-48)