Seeing the Image

By Alice Shirey at Leadership Journal

One man in my church, an introverted college librarian, is a deep stream of faith. Our church is bustling and noisy though, and he’s quiet. The ways he shows us God are often overlooked.

But a while back, we started to pay more attention. As we looked, we saw a man of serious faith. As he made his way through a leadership class and served on a spiritual growth team, several of us began to see God’s unique image imprinted on his life. We began to name his gifts, to delight in who God had made him to be, and to ask him to serve.

“Your faith story is so valuable and will resonate with so many. Will you share it at our Sunday services?”

“Your knowledge of theology, your habit of reading broadly, and your quiet authenticity are just what we need for our Ash Wednesday homily. Will you speak?”

But those two experiences pushed him to the very edge of his introvert’s ledge. Up-in-front teaching wasn’t the right outlet for his gifts. But looking deeper, we saw a knack for organization and editing that paired with his passion for Scripture. And for the past several years, from the quiet solitude of his basement office, he lives into the Imago Dei as he oversees a ministry that provides daily Scriptures to over 1,000 people. It fits. And it’s beautiful.

Once we turn our face toward someone and see the image of God in them, we need to tell them what we see. To affirm, in a conversation or a note, the places we see God in them. We can bless someone by looking at them, seeing the image of God, and telling them that both we and God are delighted by that image, that original glory.

The ultimate goal of blessing people is not to make them feel good about themselves. It is so they can move into the rest of their life in God’s strength, with God’s power. It is so they, being truly blessed, will be able to bless others.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Steve

    That’s an inspiring story. We all have our part to play.


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