It’s been awhile since I added to my online Bible journal. And there’s a reason for that. I haven’t been all that diligent with my handwritten one either! For a while I even got behind in my daily One Year Bible reading.
Balance has always been an issue for me and it doesn’t help to have a bunch of balls in the air all at once and two, sometimes competing priorities. Which begs the question – was priority even pluralized a century ago?
Luckily things are getting better. Thanks to Scripture, thanks to prayer, thanks to God (!) and thanks to my Word of Life Coaching course which is teaching me how to coach myself and find balance in my own life first!
I can’t cover all of that here. But I do want to talk about the help and direction I received through Scripture during this morning’s SOAP note journaling.
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. – 1 Peter 4:10-11 (NLT)
Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor. – 1 Peter 5:2-4
For me these two passages worked together.
1 Peter 4:10-11 talks about our individual gifts and encourages us to use these gifts to serve one another. Peter doesn’t specify who these others are, however, which I found interesting.
Peter also reminds us that God has given us our gifts (talents, abilities) in order to equip us to serve in his kingdom. That means that there is a plan and we are part of it!
The two gifts mentioned are speaking (which I see as any sort of communication over any media) and helping. He stresses that we should apply our gifts with enthusiasm and the help of God.
Interestingly at the bottom of my journal page on this passage was another passage – Colossians 3:23 NIV. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart!”
1 Peter 5:2 asks us to care for the flock that God has entrusted to us (willingly, not grudgingly) to serve God. And it seems to me that these two passages actually reference each other.
While many of us serve more than one flock (families, congregations, or platforms) the verse is singular which suggests a single primary flock. This flock probably does contain some of the “others” mentioned in 1 Peter 4:10 but I feel that the group he talks about in verse 4:10 could be larger.
I feel that these passages highlight two aspects of my path with God.
In the first passage (1 Peter 4:10-11), in fact, each of these two aspects are given as examples by the apostle. They are “speaking” (or communicating) and “helping.” I can apply speaking to my media outreach and helping to my family and coaching practice.
This spoke to me because right now I am struggling to keep all of this in balance and not always succeeding (case in point – my missed Bible journal blog posts and unreliability with the blog and podcast).
I do have a few balls in the air. Such as a family of four, a house, 2 pets, multiple remodeling and maintenance projects, a demanding coaching course, weekly Bible study at church, church attendance, a blog, a podcast, and not one but two books in process. And while what I’m learning about life balance in my coaching course is helping there are times I think that I should cut something out.
Since I can’t cut out family responsibilities I sometimes let the my writing, blog and podcast lapse.
But Peter reminds me that I SHOULD use the gift for communication that I believe I’ve been given. He also provides specific advice by allowing God to speak through me when I write. Which I believe he did do when he gave me the nudge for this article.
And he goes on to encourage me to turn to God for strength and energy when I help others. Which I intend to do when I work towards helping others in the future, through my coaching studies, or help them now through my domestic and family activities.
The second passage 1 Peter 5:2-4 underscores the importance of my responsibility to my family. The reason this passage speaks to me of family is because the preceding verses talk about elders which is my family role. Peter gives specific advice here too when he says that I should lead by example and not be too bossy (my interpretation).
To me the key word in Peter 5:2-4 is “entrusted.” We have been entrusted with our flock. They are ours. If we tend to them well we will be rewarded with a crown of glory.
I like that thought.
I believe that today’s reading tells me that this juggling act really does make sense and that every ball is important. Because both aspects of my life (communicating and helping) are mentioned I feel I am being shown that I should keep doing just what I’m doing even when it seems like it’s too much. But I believe that today’s reading also affirms what I already knew. Nothing is more important than family.
Heavenly Father. Thank you for this insight through the gift of your Word. Please help me to grow my gifts in communication and my ability to help others effectively, both in my coaching practice and in my family. Please show me how to be a better writer and communicator and help me to allow your truth to speak through me clearly and appropriately. Please supply me with the strength and energy to help my family flock, manage my home and complete my coaching studies and related goals. May I develop my ability to lead by example and serve those with whom I have been entrusted as best I can. Thank you for my wonderful family, those who read and listen to my media, the abilities with which I have been gifted and the miracle of your Word. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
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