24 Apr The Word of God is Key
By Karen Ballard –
A group of awesome women that meets together weekly has been working their way through the book, The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for Life. It has encouraged all of us to look deep at who we are, what drives us, and who we want to be according to how God has put us together.
Turns out, my mission statement is this: “To convey, nurture others in, and delight in God’s truth.” Getting to this ability to articulate MY LIFE’S PURPOSE involved a lot of looking back. (The looking forward comes when we write our vision statements! We’re not done yet!)
In reflection, it became clear that the Word of God has always figured as key in my life. I was blessed to start my teen years with a youth minister couple that held the Word high. From each of them I came to understand that the Word is a gift and a treasure. From there I fell into a group in which Bible Quizzing was a serious sport and found myself memorizing the Gospel of John and the Letter to the Romans during high school. (Don’t ask me to quote them now, please!) But through that experience, being immersed in the Word, I was shaped and my attitude towards the Word through which I heard God speak was rooted.
During this season of life, I began to write songs. One of the first was based on Mark 13:31 in which Jesus says, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away.” (Another was a song of indebtedness to God being my Father in the absence of an earthly one and that has been another theme running through my life.) I have always had a sense about the Word of God being urgent… key… essential in my life.
Even with these foundations, little did I know that God would call me to go to seminary and eventually become ordained as a minister of Word and Sacrament! (Honestly, I still question his judgment!) But as the years have rolled by, I have come to understand that my greatest joy in life is to convey God’s truth, nurture others in God’s truth and to delight in God’s truth. There’s pretty much nothing else I’d rather do.
My struggle is consistently allowing God’s Word to transform me. I confess that I have a stubborn streak! But each time God’s truth wins out and I recognize it, I am delighted by his victory over me. I believe that God’s Word is intended to transform us and I am thrilled when that happens not only in my own life but in the life of others.
So is it any wonder that I’m a little excited to be entering into a conference in which the theme is “Your Word is a Lamp”? I’ve been preparing by reading the whole of Psalm 119 and using Charles Spurgeon’s commentary to understand the psalm and particularly verse 105 a little better. Wow! What a journey, so far!
The Reverend Dr. Karen Ballard is pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Rome PA (ECO) She is one of the plenary speakers at the upcoming Great Plains Wee Kirk Conference, sponsored by The Fellowship Community, May 4-6 in Fremont, NE. “See you in Nebraska!”