August 31, 2019
So the men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. Judas and Silas,who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers. After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them. But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.
It’s Half Time.
Here at the midpoint of Acts I find myself looking for the big picture. In the midst of miracles, controversy, martyrs, conflict, preaching, teaching, learning, studying, discerning, healing, factions, visions, beatings, stonings, incarcerations, prison breaks, hardships, encouragement, dramatic growth, persecution, caring for widows, sharing, sacrificial giving, deceit, division, traveling and much more to come . . . I want to regain a sense of the big picture. What is really happening just beneath and above the surface of all this activity?
It’s the question worth asking concerning anything we are a part of: our churches, families, professions, jobs, civic organizations, boards, and so forth. If we aren’t paying attention all of our busy activities will slowly transform our movements back into mindless motions. We so easily lose our way in it all. Time marches on, and we watch our children cross the platform to receive their diploma while scratching our heads and wondering whether we really invested our best in them or just got through it.
It’s tempting to think a well-framed mission statement will bring the clarity we need to feel better about what we are accomplishing or where it’s all going. What’s missing most is vision. I don’t mean “vision” as in our ambitious projections of a grandiose future. I mean “vision” in the sense of being able to see with clarity what is really happening in the midst of all the activity. It requires regularly stepping away to re-gain vision; to see more than the twenty things you are doing at any given moment.
It’s got me wondering: Could I articulate the “vision” of what’s happening in my family in a tweet? How about my work? Church? My Life?
Many leaders these days lament the “twitterization” of everything. I agree with them to a point, especially when it means reducing something complex into a simplistic slogan of 280 characters or less. On the other hand, Twitter gives us a great and challenging gift: the clarity required of brevity. It is one thing to be naively simplistic and another to be compellingly clear.
I challenge myself today, and you, to give it a shot. Can you bring the “vision” of these things down to a sentence or two?
Back to the Half Time show of Acts. Here’s my Tweet for the vision in which all the apostolic activity converges:
The Kingdom of God advancing by the power of the Word of God through the strength of the Spirit of God by the love of the people of God.
As I think about it, these words capture what I’d like to be able to see when I get perspective on the vision of my life and family and work and church and PTA and Daily Text and everything else I am involved in.
There’s a great irony here: If we can’t bring it down to a tweet we run the risk of just twittering it all away.
COME HOLY SPIRIT!
How is your vision? Are you taking time to get to a vantage point where you can see the larger landscape of your life? How might that happen? Are you living in the movement or stuck in the motions?