Is it any wonder that when our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ sets up His Passover that He does so around the table? He engages the senses. He pours out the good wine and breaks fresh bread. Have you ever been in the kitchen when the fresh bread comes right out of the oven? Have you ever cracked the crust and felt the warm air inside the bread hit your face? If you have, you won’t forget it. When Jesus calls us to His table, He calls us to remember while giving us something tangible and arresting that points us to a greater reality.
Jesus is demanding nothing short of a willingness to die (literally!) for His sake. This is important to realize because language such as “cross bearing” and “self denial” is frequently used among Western Christians to mean they missed the latest episode of The Voice to go to community group or they had to do coffee with “that” person on their day off. But this isn’t what He had in mind.
In our culture, we call a group of people who care for one-another a community. Broken families, codependent relationships, and an epidemic of loneliness have created a ravenous hunger for community in this generation. This is what we long for in and outside of the church. Community has become something we consume to meet our needs, not an act of loving others.
Even though the life of a pastor is hectic, it’s likely that educating leaders in your church to use the Bible well is high on your priority list. However, with a busy schedule and a focus on developing elders, pastors sometimes overlook the training of women. Or perhaps they want to train them, but they’re not sure how. Either way, women likely fill more than half of the seats in your church and want to handle the Word of God correctly, so their training is essential.
What would you say to a budding missionary candidate? I have a close friend who is a veteran pastor, missionary, and now a member care director in the city in which I serve. He says there has been a surge of young adults in recent years who have landed on the field, enthusiastic to redeem the city and bring justice to the oppressed. But they do not stay longer than two years due to exhaustion, dejection, and even loss of faith.