On Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, the DML Board had their annual retreat. This year it was held at the Hermitage, a silent retreat center, and we were able to intersperse our meeting/discussion time with silence, walks, and prayers.
But I started the board meeting on Tuesday with sharing a letter of resignation, and I thought it important to share this with you as well.
I officially resign from my role as the third person of the Trinity. I submit my resignation as the Spiritual head of DML (and my family). I want Christ, by his Spirit, to be the Spiritual leader of this organization. I no longer want to be the center. I want Christ to be the real, functional Spiritual head. I repent of any desire to control or be prominent in his body. I realize that he has entrusted me to teach and guard the flock, but I recognize it is his flock. I am merely an under-shepherd. I commit myself to being a praying minister who desires to lead a praying organization. (Taken from A Praying Church by Paul Miller)
Thankfully, this letter of resignation was accepted.
Unfortunately, the next day I had to submit it again as I had attempted to retake the position. And again the next day. And again…
But I am committed to continue to try to be a “praying minister who desires to lead a praying organization.”
How difficult it is! It is so difficult to give up control, to be quiet, to listen, to pay attention.
I was reminded by a board member that we are to pay attention. The verb here is important – pay. Like paying for an item in a store. There is a cost to our attention. Am I willing to pay that cost? Our focus has value. Do I value it enough to put aside my own desires and will?
When my children were little, there was a store called Naked Plates in Grand Rapids, where you could design your own plates, bowls, etc. We went in with the four of us and each painted our own mugs. Bob selected the phrase “Pay Attention” for his mug. It was his desire to be consciously aware of the need to pay attention. He knew how easy it was to drift – so much so that he wanted his daily coffee mug to remind him.
Scripture also reminds us to pay attention:
Isaiah 42.20 – You have seen many things, but you pay no attention; your ears are open, but you do not listen.
Proverbs 22:17 – Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach.
Seeing and hearing are not the same as paying attention. It takes special focus and intentionality. It includes quieting oneself. And it includes having open hands before the Lord, letting go of trying to be the third person of the Trinity.
May God help me.