Moses, in Exodus 32 makes a decision in favor of leadership and advocacy when tested by God. God’s children, having been led out of Egypt and into the desert, were bored essentially and wanting some simple answers, some food, and some playful times. Don’t we all want simple answers, food, and playful times? This is where we find America at present, in a nut shell.
Even “religion” has become boring and quickly loses its luster if sought just for religion’s sake. High church forms of worship are back in vogue with some followers of Jesus for this reason, seeking some of the awe and depth again. Believers can sometimes go in the direction of religion with more trappings of holiness and practices that remind us of God’s worth and holiness, and our daily opportunity to be His worshipers. To be honest, I’m less concerned about what ecclesiastica hat a believer wears or what denomination they feel safest in and am more hopeful of seeing us finding our ultimate belonging in the eternal God Himself and in the following of our Savior in the mission He’s given us while here, loving on those we encounter together and introducing them to this awesome God in Jesus Christ our Redeemer.
Moses chose the path of leadership and advocacy when tested by God. True leaders don’t take the bate so-to-speak and abandon those they have been called to serve. They may not be charasmatic types or those gifted with speaking or writing. True leaders who advocate for the cause of those who are lonely or less able to change their circumstances or blinded by sin or whatever else… these leaders are often prayer closet relators with God. These leaders often lie awake in the watches of the night with prayers and requests to God for those they have encountered. They labor in love for those God has placed in their path. They advocate instead of abandon.
Yesterday I was faced with this type of opportunity to decide to lead and advocate instead of just throw in the towel on Merced, CA. Over and over this town gets that treatment, or the people of this town get that treatment I should say. The town itself is a pass-through community often used by people with an agenda to get somewhere else. I have even done this in my sin and pride. I came into Merced and started a business and then moved on to the mountains to “start a church,” later realizing my pride and desire for a name and position. As God has worked on my heart, I’ve come to slow my pace a little and focus on honoring others and what God is already doing in each community. Here in Merced, there are dozens of people I’m encountering who genuinely love people, whether they are believers or not, actually. I encounter social workers and teachers and business owners and laborers and mothers and fathers and politicians and statesmen/women and pastors and play ground development planners and more. These folks want to see a better Merced, a town where people can feel safe again and be nurtured and cared for, developed and encouraged toward their calling and purpose before God ultimately. More than each person’s potential is our essence and innate opportunity to encounter and love the God Who encounters and loves us. This seems so unreachable, but we as believers have daily opportunities to introduce folks to this eternal experience of a loving relationship with the living God. We do this by being loving relationship developers in our daily lives.
Moses’ advocacy for God’s children is something we can do daily through genuine and heart-felt prayer for those God gives us through day-to-day encounters and in our community life (family, neighborhood, local church, work place, broader city and then county-wide community life).
I’ll make note of an exciting development, to narrow in on child advocacy again: Yesterday I met with the President of CASA here in Merced and her husband (Mary Miller and Richard Miller). CASA is a very exciting effort where Court Appointed Special Advocates work on the behalf of foster children in the court system. SEE LINK. My hope is to tie a gentle tie between CASA and Safe Families for Children – SEE LINK. There is already some connection I’m sure, and I’m not wanting to make myself a savior type or anything in this. I’m simply seeking to connect people. I’m excited to keep meeting people who are leading these efforts and introduce them to each other as well as promote this tie and others in the community. It’s my intention to connect the churches, key contacts in each local church, to Safe Families as well as CASA. This should help to increase the number of volunteer advocates with CASA as well as Safe Families. Mary and Rich pointed out over lunch yesterday that Safe Families and CASA are distinct spokes in the same wheel so-to-speak in advocating for the good of children in crisis. When we can see causes such as children in crisis being properly cared for, we begin to grow in our affection for our community as a whole. We feel warm and real inside and have special affection growing for those we encounter around our community, realizing our community as one that has a heart, one that believes we can do well before the Lord ultimately in obedience but also deep joy. We are far more fulfilled when our “play” is demonstrating the love of the Redeemer to those we encounter. When we are in rebellion, our play is selfish and we push fellowship and lasting joy away, even pushing God and those God puts in our lives away. We become increasingly lonely. When we follow the path of genuine and authentic displays of God’s love for the poor and less frequently cared for and lonely, we grow in our affection for one another as we labor together, and we ultimately grow in our affection for God Whose ideas all of this is. Jesus Himself said to let the little children come to Me.
In His joy,