Draw Me A Picture
Leaders know the power of pictures. We often lead by drawing pictures in the minds of people that draw them into the future. We draw a picture of the difference our congregation can make in the community. We draw a picture of someone whose life is transformed by the gospel. We draw a picture of being a certain kind of community of faith for God’s glory and the world’s good.
God draws pictures. The book of Isaiah, for instance, is full of pictures.
- A shoot coming out of Jesse
- Heralds declaring, “our God reigns.”
- Nations flowing to Jerusalem
- Sins that were scarlet becoming whiter than snow
One picture God draws is critical for leaders as they form a community: the picture of sand. God said to Abraham,
“I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies…” (Genesis 22:17 NIV11)
In Israel, there are two types of sand. There is the sand of the desert and the sand of the seashore. The sand of the desert is a bunch of loose grains that the wind blows about. Each grain is on its own if you will. The sand of the seashore is sand held together in clumps by water. The wind may blow as hard as it wishes, but the sand stays together.
The sand of the seashore is God’s picture for the congregation. It weathers the winds of life holding together. The community builds a life together. Paul says in Colossians,
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:12–14 NIV11)
In Paul’s words, we can say that the water that holds the sand together is love. Love binds everything together and holds the community together. When love fills a community, that community lives a sand of the seashore existence.
Living this way before the world, the congregation itself becomes a picture of God’s desire for the entire world: living together across cultures, languages, and ethnicities. A congregation that loves well is a picture of God’s vision of how things should be. A congregation that is sand of the seashore shows a different and better way of living as a “we” culture instead of a “me” culture.
Leaders who grow disciples to follow Jesus’ G.O.A.T. command, namely, love God and love your neighbor (see last week’s devotional), draw this picture of a sand of the seashore community in words and actions. They do it, so people long for this community.
I recall the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
Leaders teach people to long for the wonder of being a sand of the seashore community, a community bound together by love.
Is your congregation experiencing
Liminal Space right now?
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