Is there a secret or not-so-secret ingredient you regularly add to bring a little something extra to your meal? Mine is slivered almonds – not to be confused with sliced almonds which are tasty but not as crunchy.
I add slivered almonds to almost everything. Over the weekend I ordered the best kale salad of my life in Chapel Hill and – of course – there were slivered almonds in there. And three kinds of raisins (their secret ingredient?) which made it especially tasty and I don’t even like raisins.
This is related to church, of course, because what isn’t? Church World = Life with Humans who are trying to figure things out.*
There are exquisitely gifted church leaders who are imperfect humans and yet they get things done. They face conflict in faith. They keep going. They laugh (ish) when ministry gets quirky. They cry deeply when confronted with pain (and so they probably cry a lot.) What’s their secret ingredient to masterful ministry?
What adds the crunch? My answer to this question changes from time to time but today I believe the secret (or not-so-secret) ingredient is the lens through which we love people. Do we love them because they love us? Do we love them because we can get something from them?
I’m trying to love people through the lens of Jesus’ eyes. My own eyes see bullies. My own eyes see annoying people. My own eyes see people I hope to avoid. But when I try to see people through the eyes of Jesus, the bullies are revealed as deeply insecure people. The annoying ones are revealed as people who are craving love. The ones we hope to avoid become people I want to get to know.
Believe me, this adds crunch to my life. To try to see people through the eyes of Christ adds something delicious and surprising. Today, this is my secret ingredient for getting through this life.
Image of slivered almonds. So healthy.
*Who are we? Who is God? What’s my purpose in life? What does this %^#@ mean? If you have already figured everything out, why are you part of a church? If you haven’t figured everything out, why aren’t you? (It’s a real question. I’d honestly like to hear what you think/believe.)
I go to church because it helps keep me from going too far off the rails. I definitely don’t have everything figured out. Isn’t that a lifelong journey? But God and church have moved me forward…with LOTS of backsliding along the way! I think spiritual exercise is a thing…just like physical exercise. You can’t “get better” if you’re not working at it or keeping it up. Sometimes it’s easy and joyful and sometimes it is the hardest thing ever. But choosing to keep believing is the key…and doing and striving and not giving up…even when you really, really want to.
Thanks for your posts, Jan. They help me with all of the above.
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