LEA Weekly Devotional
2008–2009 series: Red-Letter Days
September 30, 2008
Extended Reading: Philippians 2:1–4, 14–18
“Are your hearts tender and sympathetic? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose. In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing,” (Philippians 2:1b, 2, 14 NLT).
Ninety-nine percent of educators in Lutheran schools are personally familiar with chicken tenders (according to a study based purely on gut feeling). Of course, this is nothing to squawk at.
Whose brainchicken, er -child, was this anyway? Where were chicken tenders when some of us mature educators were children? One person I know would have been cuisinely transformed if chicken had come in succulent, greasy, ergonomic format that neither looked like the real thing nor contained brittle bones.
If only educators in Lutheran ministries were more like chicken tenders!
No, we’re not talking about greasy skin, flaky crust, or saturated fat. We’re talking about tender and appealing to co-workers and to the children, youth, and adults we serve.
It should be no surprise that Lutheran organizations often do not work well together. It’s not because we’re Lutherans. It’s because we’re sinners. Maybe we’re a lot like free-range roosters!
The devil does not want schools and congregations to succeed through focused cooperation and collaboration. We Lutherans have such great theology, albeit in six parts, that were we to shed territorialism, sentimentality, and organizational ego, we would be a much more difficult force to reckon with. (And we’d even avoid ending sentences with prepositions—twice!) Working together programmatically and organizationally often is too hard, too unconventional, and too sacrificial.
But never mind outside situations. Educators within a single Lutheran school or congregation often trouble themselves with frail, fiery, or careless interpersonal relationships. And it shows!
Spectators to your ministry easily observe personal fouls like encroachment, offsides, and other violations of ministry, professionalism, and character.
Tough devotion, huh? (That’s what happens when you mix chicken, football, Lutheran educators, and sin!)
Examine yourself. If you’re feeling guilty, embarrassed, or angry, it’s a good thing. (If you’re not feeling guilty, you might benefit from a second opinion.) God convicts with His Law’s to prompt us back into positive relationships—with Him and with others. And does He pound toughened sinners into tenderized saints? No. He makes us tender through the hard, unconventional, sacrificial life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our sins are forgiven. Jesus frees us, and the Spirit empowers us to live the words of today’s text.
Tender devotion, huh? (That’s what happens when you put the Gospel into the mix!)
Tender Lutheran too?
Dear Christian friends laboring in and among Lutheran schoolyards, youth herds, wandering seekers, sickened souls, and other less metaphorical ministries, be tender. With each other. With those you serve. Even with the free-range roosters.
Written by Edward Grube, LL.D.
Director of Publications & Communications
© 2008 Lutheran Education Association
Scripture quotations identified as NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
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