So Shine Already! (An encouraging evening and a devotional gem)

“But my righteous one will live by faith.
    And I take no pleasure
    in the one who shrinks back.”

But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

Hebrews 10:38-39

Today’s post has two pieces:

  1. First, my absolute delight at the beauty of intentional community and the faithfulness of the men who gather with me.
  2. Then a short devotional gem from our conversation around Salt & Light (Matthew 5:13-16).

Hybrid may be the way forward:

I know talking about Zoom meetings is old hat now – but I have to share about the hybrid gathering my men’s group pulled off. The result was all kinds of encouraging to me.

– Study materials

Our “Reopening Taskforce” at WFPC meets on a regular basis. The team is thorough, scientific, and cautious in their approach to the challenge. At the same time, we want to keep people as engaged as possible. Consequently, there is a lot going on – safely – around our sprawling campus. There are literally scores of opportunities (both in-person and virtual) to be together, from Worship, to Bible studies, to working in the community garden, to youth and children’s ministry events, to baptisms and more.

Yesterday my Wednesday evening men’s group broke new ground by meeting “in-person” along with a “Zoom-in” option. So there were eight of us in a circle (masked and socially-distanced), plus two guys on my laptop “sitting” in the chair next to mine.

It was all kinds of imperfect, it was hard for those Zooming to hear guys across the room in masks, and I gave them motion sickness every time I moved the computer so they could see who was talking. But – and this is what I find so encouraging – they were there. Even those who are not ready for “breathing the same air” are motivated to be with their brothers, and they came along for the ride regardless.

The best image I left with came a few moments after the meeting: Three guys in deep conversation – two on the computer and one still in our circle. This is what community is about, this is what it means to encourage one another, to be accountable, and to love.

Short Devotion:

Our scripture, Matthew 5:13-16, talks about our calling to be light in and to the world. “Let your light shine before others!”

In our conversation, I asked a question about, “How do we shine? What do we, or can we, do in order to shine…?”

After a few comments, Wayne weighed in. “I don’t think we need to be concerned about shining,” he said (I’m paraphrasing). “It’s about following Jesus in how we live. We’re not looking to shine, we’re looking to serve, to be kind, to act with compassion, to love one another…”

Spot on, Wayne! What you’re saying reminds me of a similar conversation around happiness. Viktor Frankl’s classic book Man’s Search for Meaning makes the argument, essentially, that people who chose happiness over meaning we will end up with neither; but if we chose to pursue meaning, then we will likely end up experiencing both.

Derek Maul listens, then writes, in Wake Forest, NC

When we follow Christ’s commandment to love, and we live love out loud – via acts of service, kindness, compassion, faithfulness, grace, mercy, generosity, and encouragement – then we will undoubtedly shine.

But of course it will be the light of Jesus, shining in us and through us. – DEREK

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 3:14-16

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