This past week our family, like many of yours, have had Covid spread through our home. From our youngest, James (9), to Jerry (well, I won’t tell y’all his age), we have all been hit with illness. To say it has taken its toll is an understatement. We have been confined; we have been moody; we have physically ached; and we have certainly felt the brokenness of our bodies. My mind is even hard pressed to write a well thought out Meditation For Preparation. So I am going to leave you with just a few thoughts and a prayer from the Valley of Vision.
This week as we gather (virtually for us), we look at the verses of Titus 1:5-9. We take time to think about the role of elders within the church and the qualifications laid out for this position. Since there are only 13 elders at North Wake, the majority of us do not fall into this category, but let me give some encouragement for how to love our elders well.
First, let us pray for our leaders. Pray for their marriages, their parenting, their faith, their study of God’s Word, and their ever steady trust of God’s love and care for them. Take time to pray for the leaders of our church. Then, reach out and let them know that you are praying for them, and ask if there are any specific ways you can pray for them.
Next, let us encourage our leaders. Tell them how God has used them to increase your faith, to convict your heart, or to understand your salvation more deeply. It is easy to begin to wonder if all the work, effort, words, and prayers are making a difference to those in the congregation. Romans 1:12 says, “that we may be mutually encouraged, by each other’s faith.” Encourage your leaders by sharing how the Lord is working in your life and how God is using them in your walk with Christ.
Thirdly, let us not overlook being teachable. We will be incapable of encouraging our leaders by how God has used them in our lives if we are unable to be taught by the Holy Spirit. When we as the congregation show up to church ready to learn, serve, and worship, it makes the jobs of our elders much less of an uphill battle.
Lastly, as the congregation, let us love one another. Divisions within the church are nothing new. There have been divisions since Paul began writing letters to the churches, and we have certainly seen divisions become intensified within the walls of the church over the last several years. However, we do not have to contribute to the division. We can choose the love of Christ to be shown in the words we speak, the actions we take, and the attitudes we have towards one another.
Let me leave you with this prayer as we prepare our hearts to gather together and seek the Lord.
I am so slow to learn,
so prone to forget, so weak to climb;
I am in the foothills when I should be
on the heights;
I am pained by my graceless heart,
my prayerless days, my poverty of love,
my sloth in the heavenly race, my sullied conscience,
my wasted hours, my unspent opportunities.
I am blind while light shines around me:
take the scales from my eyes,
grind to dust the evil heart of unbelief.
Make it my chiefest joy to study thee,
meditate on thee, gaze on thee,
sit like Mary at thy feet, lean like John on thy breast,
appeal like Peter to thy love, count like Paul all things dung.
Give me increase and progress in grace
so that there may be
more decision in my character, more vigour in my purposes,
more elevation in my life, more fervour in my devotion,
more constancy in my zeal.
As I have a position in the world,
keep me from making the world my position;
May I never seek in the creature
what can be found only in the Creator;
Let not faith cease from seeking thee
until it vanishes into sight.
Ride forth in me, thou King of kings
and Lord of lords,
that I may live victoriously,
and in victory attain my end.
The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions p. 184