“No, this is the covenant that I will make with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my instructions within them and engrave them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Jeremiah 31:33 (CEB)
One of the gifts I received this Christmas was an engraved metal tumbler made by a company named RTIC. It is one of the specialty tumblers that keeps things cool, or hot, far longer than I ever imagined possible. The engraving on the tumbler is simply “PT.” As I mentioned in one of my messages recently, this is one of the names I am known by around St. Andrew’s and The Florida Conference. I love the gift and I love even more that it is engraved with these letters. It means that I am the owner of the tumbler and no one else should use it. But to me it also means a lot more.
I also love this gift because of the givers. My wife and daughters gave me the tumbler for Christmas. I not only love the tumbler because of what is engraved on the outside. I love the tumbler because what is engraved on the outside represents the ones who had it engraved. This is what makes it special to me. The thought of going the extra step of having the gift personalized means that there is something special about me to my family. It means that there is something they love about the name by which I am known. It adds to the gift and makes it that much more meaningful to me.
The Scripture verse above is from The Book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah the prophet is told by God that there will be a new covenant with the people of Israel. God will no longer write his laws on tablets of stone. God says the laws will be within them, engraved on their hearts. How amazing it that? God’s instructions for the people of Israel would be internalized as a unique engraving upon their hearts. Just as my example above, even more so, what is engraved is God’s very own instructions. What makes these instructions so special is the One who is doing the engraving. God sees every person in Israel as important and engraves on each individual heart the instructions God has for them.
In our experience God engraves the same instructions on our heart in the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. God the Father has created us in the image of God (Imago Dei), Jesus Christ the Son has saved us from our sin, and the Holy Spirit comforts and guides us in the ways of God. We still have these instructions within us and engraved on our hearts. We can know how to follow God fully and how to obey God’s instructions because of the Holy Spirit indwelling in the heart of every follower.
This Sunday we will be discussing the message Servant Leadership. I believe that this principle of an engraved heart is crucial to being a servant leader. I can’t wait to share this with you Sunday. There are great things coming for St. Andrew’s in 2017 and it’s an exciting time. The best is yet to come. I can’t wait to see you in church!