Sunday, December 11, 2011

Isaiah, John, and Me

"The spirit of the LORD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion - to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, to display His glory."  Isaiah 61:1-3
This was the scripture spoken out into our hearts today as we sat in the pews.  Oh, sometimes I am awed by the power of the Holy Scriptures spoken out loud.  It is as though I can almost visibly see the words spreading out among us, reaching to our hearts, longing to be taken in, ushered into the deep spaces.
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And as I heard these words, I said to myself...I want that job.  I want the job where I can bring good news to the oppressed, the job where I bear witness to His holy power binding up the brokenhearted.  I want speak the words:  You are free, in the name of Jesus!  Can you just imagine the privilege of handing out garland to one who has only known ashes?  Can you contain the excitement within yourself as you think of offering an oil of joy to someone who has been destitute, held in the chains of forever mourning?  Oh, the exuberance of seeing the faint fade away, morphing into a strength that was never even imagined!

Glory.

Fittingly, the sermon today was about our vocation, our vocation that God has equipped us to take on so that we might glorify Him and proclaim His power to save.  No matter if you are a garbage collector, a software engineer, a writer, or a priest -- all can be done for the glory of God and unto His purpose.  As someone who seems to change careers overnight, I know that no matter what my vocation is at the time, He allows me to use the gifts that He has given me to impact His kingdom in some way.  But I still struggle sometimes with thinking that I am a quitter.  I look back and think about how I used to dream about being the top special education teacher and getting invited on the Oprah show.  I look back and think how I could have advanced up the ranks of college professor or been a creator of curriculum for Christian formation.  I look ahead, squinting to see if this speaking/writing/art thing will stick, or if I will wander from thing to thing forever.
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And then, in today's words from Isaiah coupled with the words about John the Baptist, a man sent by God who came as a witness to testify to the light so that all might believe through him (John 1: 6-7), it all becomes so much clearer.  I don't want my life to be about me.  I want it to be about Him.  I have the privilege of giving up my will to the Father who places me where and when He wishes to use me.  And through this movement, I lose my tight grip on the dreams and goals I thought would fill me to no end, because instead, I find that tightly gripping God is what really soothes my soul and softens my hearts and makes me melt with mercy and compassion.  And no matter what my vocation, no matter how much I get paid, or if I get paid at all, oh to be handing out garland and speaking words of healing balm from His heart, what more could a girl want?

May we all be a voice in the wilderness (but maybe not eating wild locust), proclaiming, "Make straight the way of the Lord!" wherever God has placed us and with whatever tools He has given us.


Also, would love for you to join us tomorrow for Soli Deo Gloria (link opens Monday evening and goes through Wednesday night).

15 comments :

  1. It is all about him. The more I make it about him, the more I also learn to let go of my dreams and desires and find contentment with where and what He wants, even though it is not fully revealed yet. Great post.

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  2. beautiful. all about Him this year. <3

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  3. No matter our vocation, we are all called to be light to this dark world. We can offer hope to the hopeless and healing to the broken hearted. Beautiful thoughts, Jen.

    Many blessings!

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  4. We just read to our girls about John the Baptist in their Bible, "The Jesus Storybook Bible."

    What I loved about it, is that the way the story of John the Baptist is told in their Bible---John LOVED the way he lived--he loved his life. Eating locust and wild honey---proclaiming God's word---preparing God's children for Jesus--their Rescuer. He was doing exactly what God called him to do. When we are in that place, of using our gifts, and doing exactly what we are called to do---our hearts ring like a bell. No matter what it is! Love that!

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  5. Me too! I would love that job description, and I think we've all been given it! I'd better get out there and spread some real Christmas cheer, the Good News!

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  6. To quote Jennifer Lee: A. to the. Men!!! Thanks for this encouragement, Jen. So spoke to my life today.

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  7. I think you share the good news quite well here in this sweet space. Your writing ministry is a gift to so many. Thankful for you, Jen.

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  8. I've struggled with this as well, Jen. The world (and often my mom) tell me what the definition of successful is. But when I think about how I came to be a stay-at-home mom and quit moving "up" the ladder I realize it happened in step-by-step obedience to the Lord's leading, so I'm right where I need to be and I can still prepare the way and proclaim him right where I am.

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  9. This is beautiful Jen... thank you.

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  10. Love that about you. . .that you can almost "visibly see words". It's a gift.

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  11. Beautifully put, your emotions are palpable and your intent is evident. From what I see here, you are fulfilling His design.

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  12. Love that visual of seeing words spread out over people! Lovely heart you have Jen.

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  13. More of Him and less of me - right on! I think one of the lessons I learn from John is to be yourself and let your own story testify to the light. Don't you love that phrase: testify to the light? good words and reflection, Jen.

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  14. Your words resonated with me: I find that tightly gripping God is what really soothes my soul and softens my hearts and makes me melt with mercy and compassion. Thank you, Jen :)

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  15. "I want that job."

    How cool. I'm digging that remark. I love your spark and your spunk.

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