“For we are co-workers in God’s service.”
1 Corinthians 3:9
Have you ever considered yourself a tender? In the weeks to come, as we partner with God toward a rule of life, I’d like you to consider the various meanings within the root word: ‘to tend.’ This word is where I invite you to camp during the next eleven weeks with God.
From Latin, the verb ‘to tend’ means: to incline, to move in a certain direction, to stretch toward, to direct oneself, even to grasp. Imagine the powerful imagery this word conjures of a child stretching toward their loving caretaker; it is an expectant and devoted love. Imagine yourself as a child reaching out to the Triune God of love. As he takes your hand, what journey is he inviting you to walk with him? I invite you to hold this image in your mind’s eye as you begin the process of creating a rule of life.
Tending is also necessary when caring for a vine on a trellis. Our creator tenderly takes our vines and tendrils and redirects them, prunes them, or grafts them so they grow in the best way possible. By opening ourselves to God’s tending, we are inclined to stretch and grow where our master’s attentive love directs.
The secondary derivative of tend is ‘to attend to.’ In Middle English and French this came to mean: to direct one’s mind and energy toward, to expect, to wait for, to pay attention. To begin a rule of life, we direct our mind and energy toward God to expectantly and attentively await his direction for our lives.
With God as our “tender,” we expectantly await his lead and together we enter a mutually attentive relationship. When we consent to God’s tender care he will ever-so-gently attend to the whole of who we are and together we will grow into the bigger Kingdom vision.
The Rule of Life is an invitation to acknowledge God’s love for all areas of your life and respond to his desire to partner toward a mutually attentive relationship.
If you choose to enter this practice, I trust God will tenderly meet you in the journey, and together you will find the stride that bears fruit in you and through you.
UP AND COMING: 10-weeks of Tending
Starting next Tuesday, Global Trellis will weekly post a new devotional for ten weeks focused on attending to ten areas of your life. Galatians 5:25 says, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”(NIV) A Rule of Life is about learning how to walk in step with the Spirit by establishing a trellis or “rule” that sets a rhythm of life discerned out of prayer with God. Before you can write a rule of life, you need to discern where the rule should be set. It’s important to notice where you are currently in or out of step with the Spirit in order to set a rule that bears fruit.
Here are the ten areas of tending:
- Identity: Relationships and Roles
- Identity: Gifts, Talents, and Temperament
- Noticing your Desires and Longings
- A Vision for God’s Kingdom
- Time: Establishing Rhythms of Life with Christ
- Your Body as God’s Temple— Living as Embodied Souls
- Christian Community—Living as Part of the Body of Christ
Each devotional includes prayers, instructions, reflections and questions. You have a week to pray with the material, there is no need to complete it all in one day. Attending takes time. Imagine the time like while steeping a tea bag; for the best brew, it needs to rest in the water. Rest in the living water of Jesus and steep. Allow the Lord to tend to you as you listen for how to walk in step with the Spirit.
This practice is not about creating a “To Do” list. It is not obligatory. It is not a measurement tool. It is not the Law. It is not a gimmick to make you feel guilt or shame. Creating a rule of life is a spiritual practice of attending. The process will be long, it will be challenging, and it involves commitment, but what an opportunity to pray with the Spirit to discover the rhythm Christ desires for you in all areas of your life. See you next Tuesday.