But the one who is greatest among you will be your servant. All who lift themselves up will be brought low. But all who make themselves low will be lifted up. – Matthew 23:11-12
Life around Wake Forest is edging back toward “normal” this morning, with most of the roads clear and temperatures likely to creep back above freezing after lunch. So I drove Rebekah into work and we fell into conversation with Katherine, WFPC‘s new director of Children, Youth, & Family ministries.
“I’ve been having a hard time falling back into any kind of a regular rhythm,” she said.
I know what she’s talking about. First it was Thanksgiving, then all the events leading up to Christmas and New Year’s, and – just when we were ready to be back in the groove – all the snow and ice.
In fact, for Rebekah and me, we can move the beginnings of this issue all the way back to October 8, when Hurricane Matthew devastated North Carolina and Rebekah ended up in the cardiac intensive care unit at Wake Med. After that is was recovery, WFPC’s 25th Anniversary celebration, the surgeon “slitting her throat and breaking her neck,” Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, New Year’s, the snow, and – finally – a shot at normal.
So the question becomes, given this opportunity to pretty-much start from scratch, what do we want “normal” to look like as 2017 begins to unfold?
Back in the 1980’s when our own children were just beginning school, Rebekah and I led a Sunday morning class designed for young families. We were all struggling – balancing life, careers, faith, children, and all the stress that comes with raising a family – but we were struggling together.
Rebekah and I always challenged our friends with a difficult but critically important truth, especially when our children – and we had more than 100 between us all – had a hard time fitting in: “As people of faith, committed to teaching our children to follow Jesus, we are raising our children to be a minority.”
That was a hard concept. Because, while we wanted our children to fit in, to “belong,” and to have friends, the last thing we wanted was for our offspring to be just like every other child in America. Instead, we were teaching our kids that:
- the meek shall inherit the earth,
- the first shall be last and the last first,
- to lead by being the servants of all,
- to turn the other cheek,
- to value love more than winning,
- that it is better to give than to receive,
- and so much more that stands in direct contrast to the social economy that defines much of life in North America.
So “normal” – for us – doesn’t always look like the expected rhythm of business as usual.
And here we are, coming off a long opportunity for fundamental re-calibration, and the question popping up in my head… and heart… and spirit, is “what will following Jesus make this New Year look like?”
In love, and because of love – DEREK
Here are my “Four-Photos” for today
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.