Over the next 4-6 weeks, we’re hitting the pause button and hope you will too.
Instead of a full podcast episode about a leadership topic or challenge, we’re offering you a series of brief devotions to nurture your soul as a leader so you can continue equipping people to follow Jesus.
We recorded these devotions to help you breathe in the life-giving Spirit of God. As I (Sara) edited this devotion, ever aware of COVID-19 and overcome by the racism that continues to plague us, I was reminded again why following Jesus is transformational.
The Gospel is a life-giving balm for the soul. Jesus reminds us how to live.
May this episode empower you to pause, reflect on who Jesus is inviting you to be, and then go, in the power and presence of Christ, to experience transformation.
With this in mind, let’s turn to Matthew’s Gospel using the pattern read, reflect, respond, and return. First, a bit of context.
Matthew on Anxiety
In every generation there are those who say, “We have never been this way before.” But at no time in recent history have we faced the enormity of change we are facing today. When the ground starts moving under your feet, and when you feel you do not have a firm foundation upon which to stand your anxiety level rises.
Anxiety is contagious and when you are driven by anxiety, you see the world differently. You begin to make your decisions based upon the fear of scarcity and to focus on needs, problems, and shortages rather than the abundance of the goodness of God. It is in the midst of such anxiety you need the courage to stay focused upon God’s mission and to lead the people around you in to your community to love the people God has given to you to love.
Matthew, the gospel writer, knew this anxiety firsthand. Bringing together the anxiety of the day with the experience of being a follower of Jesus, living into the teaching of Jesus, watching Jesus develop relationships, and experiencing the life of integrity of Jesus, Matthew presents the Good News as God sending Jesus to teach us how to live a holy and righteous life.
One way to face your anxiety is to look to the scripture for guidance, inspiration, and hope. It is in the reflection of the scripture and responding to its leading that you learn to be who God created you to be.
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Today, how will you be courageous in expressing your faith?
- How will Jesus inform your thinking, your decisions, and your relationships?
- Consider the ways you pay attention to different people.
- Be vulnerable. Smile and speak to people today.
- What difference does your interaction make in your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors?
Reflect upon the scripture and your interactions of the day.
- How were you courageous in paying attention to the people around you today?
- In whom did you meet Jesus today?
- For whom or what are you grateful?
- Do you think or feel that you missed some opportunities today?
- What might you do differently tomorrow?
O God, thank you for the assurance that I am not alone in living the life you have given me to live. Thank you for giving me direction in living this life. I am especially grateful that you are helping me become more who you created me to be. Help me focus my eyes more upon Jesus, so I may recognize you more often in the people I meet along the way. Amen.