Dear Friends in Christ,
“Because of all this we make a firm agreement in writing, and on that sealed document are inscribed the names of our officials…
The rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants, and all who have separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to adhere to the law of God, their wives, their sons, their daughters, all who have knowledge and understanding, join with their kin, their nobles, and enter into a curse and an oath to walk in God’s law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord and his ordinances and his statutes”
(Nehemiah 9:38 & 10:28-29)
After God’s people prayed a powerful prayer of confession (Nehemiah 9), they took a sacred oath (10:29), and signed their names to a document. In this document they promised to fully observe the commandments, ordinances, and statutes of God. They promised to put first things first. They promised to prioritize. They promised to live their lives by the order of sacred importance.
As a follower of Jesus, what would you say your 5 top priorities are? Does the time, energy, and resources you expend in these areas truly reflect their priority?
As a parish of Jesus followers, what would you say your 5 top priorities are? Once again, does the time, energy, and resources you expend in these areas truly reflect their priority?
As we look back on the past year, many of our parishes will be performing financial audits. Looking back over the books to confirm that investments, income, and expenses have been properly scrutinized and satisfactorily attested. Some (including the Northwestern Ohio Synod) will make use of a professional outside auditor to do this important financial work.
I wonder what a priority audit would look like? How did we live out our God given mission and vision? How did we share our agreed upon values? How did we achieve or fail to achieve our annual goals? And if you’re really brave and want to take this to the next level, reach out to an “outside auditing firm”. Ask the folks living in your neighborhood. Ask the village police officer? Ask the middle school principal. Ask the local postmaster? Are we whom we claim to be? And are we becoming whom God longs for us to be?
Toward the end of the Book of Nehemiah, God’s people promised to fully observe the commandments, ordinances, and statutes of God. They promised to put first things first. They promised to prioritize. They promised to live their lives by the order of sacred importance.
So, how are we doing?
My prayer is that the followers of Jesus in the Northwestern Ohio Synod become a people of purpose, passion, and priority.