Hello friends. Greetings from the headquarters of the Southern California Conference. I am in the Committee Room of our conference office.
Here is where your conference leadership meets to make plans and decisions for the advancement of the ministry of the conference in this southern part of the state of California. Here is where the conference Executive Committee and Administrative Committee regularly meet.
As leaders, in our planning and making decision process, we do it having in mind our mission statement, our vision statement, our core values, and our strategic objectives. Intentionally, we have engraved those statements on the walls of this room as a symbol of our commitment to these missional and organizational elements.
On the other side of this room, we have a spectacular painting as a reminder as well of our ultimate goal: to encounter Jesus at His second coming. What a glorious day that will be! These visual aids are constant reminders of what we are, where we go, and how we do ministry.
Brothers and sisters, we’ve done this following the concept, the notion in God's counsel to Moses in Deuteronomy 6:4-9: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk to them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
Please note the words: “are to be,” “impress them,” “talk about them,” “tie them,” “bind them,” and “write them.”
These writings had to be engraved, inscribed, impressed, and at sight permanently as constant reminders before the children of Israel. In effect, the Jews later took these words literally, wearing phylacteries upon the head and inside of the left arm.
Why God gave these directions to Moses? God knew how prone humans are to get distracted and forget advice, instructions, and commands. God wanted to ensure the importance of transmitting His ideals and values to the next generations.
Now I am here in the Office of the President of the Southern California Conference. Do you know what? I also have my own hindsight here. The first one is a painting of Jesus washing Peter’s feet.
When I see this picture, I recall how Jesus was willing and ready to take on any task regardless if it was inferior or shameful for a “Master,” “Rabbi,” as His disciples called Him. This makes me aware that I have to exercise a servant-leadership as president of this religious organization.
Did you notice a small white towel over the top? No. No. The office cleaning crew didn't forget on it. I placed it there for people to ask me about it when visiting me here. Then, by responding to their questions, I would remind myself of my role, which is: serve to God’s people.
The second one in this presidential office is a pictorial art of washing hands. This one doesn’t attempt to describe this organization's top leader washing his hands like Pontius Pilate evading responsibilities. No, no, no! Actually, this was a gift I received from our conference prayer team when I was elected president nine years ago.
Look, there is a Bible verse there: “Come near to the Lord and he will come near to you. “Wash your hands… and purify your hearts… Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (James 4:8, 10).
As I see this portrait, I consider it a reminder that the president of this conference needs clean hands to handle the sacred business and matters of God’s church.
My dear friends, what about you? Do you have your own icons, or reminiscences to remind yourself, to remind to your family, to remind to your coworkers about God’s character, about God’s ideals and goals, about God’s expectations?
I invite you to consider having your own icons and symbols that you can remind yourself about what God wants from us, and one day that we can see Jesus in the clouds coming to meet us and be with Him in Heaven forever. God bless us all.