My wife, Lisa, and I became empty nesters a few months ago. As we were sending our youngest child off to college, we sold our home and released the church that we had planted and pastored for 18 years to a leader whom we raised up. We did not know what was next, but we were confident that we were walking in obedience.
As pastors, we can preach about faith to others, but we sometimes make excuses for not living by faith ourselves. When Lisa and I planted Grace Capital (Pembroke Foursquare Church) in Pembroke, N.H., we had our “Abraham" moment—we began a journey without knowing where we were going (Heb. 11:8, NKJV), and we saw God’s blessing. And it was time to do it again.
One of the most challenging examples of what it means to be sent into the world as His disciples is found in Philippians 2: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (vv. 5-7, ESV).
The Greek word kenosis used in the preceding passage can mean “to self-empty,” “to release” and “to let go.” If the King left His throne to become like us, we should be willing to leave what we have to follow Him. If Jesus did not grasp, then I should be able to let go, as well. I must lead with my “palms up,” knowing that there is a divine power released in me when I entrust myself to the Father.
Living “palms up” means that we focus on serving others and giving to them. It means that we open our hands and our hearts to God’s direction in our lives. Living palms up means that we are true worshipers.
I’ve always enjoyed releasing others into ministry, but this time, I was being released. It was quite different, yet consistent with what we find over and over in Scripture. We decrease so that He, and others, may increase.
Maybe the Lord is stirring you to live your life palms up again and to let go of what has always been God’s to begin with. Mark Batterson states in his book All In: “We want more revelation before He reveals more, but God wants more obedience before we obey more.” Leaders who live their lives palms up demonstrate courageous trust as they follow Him and practice His example. Let’s be people who practice this as we are sent in 2015!
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