Lately it seems I’ve been running up against the same truth over and over again. Basically, it’s this:
God really is working out plans formed long ago with perfect faithfulness, but if we want to see and enter into what He’s doing, we’re going to have to flip a lot of our worldly values on their heads.
The world says climb the ladder to success.
God says the greatest in the kingdom is the servant of all.
The world celebrates intellect, beauty, and talent.
God looks for a heart after Him.
The world applauds power and wealth.
God says become as a little child.
The world wears a mask of painted-on perfection.
God says knowing you’re broken is the first step on the path to redemption and wholeness.
The world idolizes celebrity, but God never lurks at backstage doors, hoping the haughty will toss a bit of their coveted attention His way. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
In God’s upside-down kingdom, the weak confound the mighty, the meek inherit the earth, and the pure in heart see God.
And the best gifts? They’re the ones that bow us the lowest, because God draws near to the humble.
He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
He has told you, O man. Yes, you (ahem, me) — pulled in a thousand directions by your dreams and ambitions, your envy and competitiveness, your insatiable appetite for self-actualization. You’re looking for life and meaning in all the wrong places. He has told you what is good.
Do justice. Love kindness. Walk humbly with your God.
Sounds so simple. But, oh, how desperately I fail. And that’s one reason I’m looking forward to this weekend.
Thursday evening I’m heading to Philadelphia for The Justice Conference. Thousands of people will gather in the spirit of Micah 6:8, to listen to front-line pioneers and battle-scarred warriors in the fight against human trafficking, and I actually have an official role. I suppose I could pretend I’m going because I’m a mover and shaker in this worthy cause, but that would be false representation.
My job is to take care of these two:
Not to brag or anything (because that would totally defeat the tone of this post), but I’m the official “conference nanny” for JUBILEE and Arts Aftercare, which, in layman’s terms, means I get to play with my grandchildren and enjoy the company of their justice-doing, kindness-loving, humbly-walking-with-God parents.
Curtis and Grace’s band, JUBILEE, will perform during the conference, and Arts Aftercare will host an exhibitor’s booth, sharing their vision for the healing power of the arts and how attendees can partner with them to “do what they love to undo what they hate.”
As Curtis recently wrote on JUBILEE’s blog:
“We are thrilled to be performing at The Justice Conference again this year, this time in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Convention Center FEB 22 & 23. In addition to sharing the stage with heroes like Gary Haugen (IJM) and John Perkins, we’ll be joining Gungor for a VIP premiere event where Arts Aftercare and our documentary “Do What You Love to End What You Hate” will be featured.”
I am thrilled, too. Thrilled to come alongside this beautiful army in a small way. Thrilled to learn kingdom ways from speakers, artists, and other passionate souls who are living Micah 6:8, standing up for the widow and the orphan, rescuing the prisoner and the oppressed, pouring their gifts and resources into serving the least.
These folks are heroes in the upside-down kingdom, but the last thing they want is for people to put them on a pedestal. They want comrades-in-arms, not compliments. Fellow soldiers, not fans.
He has told you, O man, what is good. Am I listening?
* * *
Giving thanks in community for (#678 – 694)
a God who shows up
the women of Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Wichita, Kansas
Naomi’s “Hey, you!”
moment-by-moment grace with Mom
conversations with Dad
Sarah and Eliot at 36 weeks
the delightful chaos of skyping with Harper, Grace, and Malia
color, texture, pattern: visual happiness
daffodils and sage in a blue vase
The Village Church
confession of sin
the body of Christ
glimpses into the realer Real
a big God who uses small people