Welcome to the PMF Workshop for November 2021. I’m your host, T. M. Moore. Each month we provide teaching, encouragement, activities, and resources to help you in working your Personal Mission Field, so that you can become more consistent and effective in realizing the presence, promise, and power of God’s Kingdom in your daily life.
This month’s Workshop is entitled, “Docents of Goodness and Glory.” Our texts are Psalm 33.5 and Matthew 6.28, 29:
The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
Seeing the unseen
Some years ago I was asked to preach at an evening service in a church just off Route 1 in southeastern Pennsylvania. As it happened, I had another commitment in that area for the morning, in Middletown, Delaware, so I decided after that commitment I would head to the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, grab a cup of coffee, and finish my preparations for the evening there.
Now the Brandywine River Museum is my favorite place on earth. It houses paintings by N. C., Andrew, and Jamie Wyeth, as well as other members of what is known as the Brandywine School. Susie and I frequently visited the museum during the twelve years we lived in Baltimore, an hour or so south; and Andrew Wyeth remains one of our two favorite painters to this day.
It was a beautiful snowy day, and I got my coffee, sat at a table overlooking the Brandywine Creek, and finished up my preparations for the evening service. As I still had some time on my hands, I went up to the Andrew Wyeth gallery, just to look around. This was back before Mr. Wyeth died in 2009, so I was not surprised to see a brand-new painting hanging on the wall – a fall scene along a rail fence leading to a farmhouse. I stood looking at the painting, which simply enthralled me, although – as is so often the case with Wyeth’s paintings – I could not say exactly why.
All at once I was aware of someone standing next to me. I turned to look, and it was one of the museum’s docents, decked out in his Brandywine jacket, admiring the painting right along with me.
I said, “Isn’t this beautiful?” He said, “Yes, but you should have been here yesterday.” “Oh,” I replied, “Why?” “Well,” he continued,” do you see this place right here?” He pointed to a spot in the middle foreground, along the rail fence. “See those impressions in the grass?” I looked, “Yes, yes I do.” I had not noticed them before. “So yesterday,” he continued, “Andrew showed up with his paints and right there, at that spot, he painted out a deer he had included in the original. He just said he thought the deer’s presence was more wondrous by its absence – just the impression of a deer, you know, and not the deer itself.”
Suddenly I saw it all, and the mystery of what I could not see was heightened more than if I’d seen it, thanks to the patient help of this docent, pointing out a bit of Wyeth whimsy and goodness that I otherwise would have missed.
What we do
That’s what docents do. They help us see things – both things we see but can see more deeply into as well as things that are only there by implication or impression – so that our visit to the art museum can be more thrilling, enthralling, edifying, and memorable.
And that’s what Jesus did with the creation around Him – He pointed out the goodness of God, which is everywhere throughout the earth, and the glory of His Presence and care, even in such ordinary and everyday wonders as a lily.
Jesus was the Supreme Docent of goodness and glory, and He has appointed you and me to serve in that role with Him.
All around us
The goodness of God is all around us. His grace, mercy, compassion, patience, wisdom, greatness, power, and beauty are continuously on display in the things of creation – plants, animals, landscapes, and many of the works of culture wrought by human ingenuity and effort. “How excellent is Your name in all the earth!” David exclaimed in the 8th Psalm. The heavens declare the glory of God, and everything around proclaims His goodness (cf. Ps. 19.1-4). The experience of encountering God in the things He has made, of edging up close to His beauty, being caught up in the wonder of His glory, and nestling into His Presence and power can be life-transforming. Jesus told us to consider the lilies, so that we would know the constant, lavish, and unfailing care of God for all our needs. All creation speaks of the goodness and glory of God, as Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote, “The world is charged with the grandeur of God!”
We who have eyes to see the goodness and glory of God must cultivate our ability to do so. We must take time to consider the lilies, sparrows, farmlands, cityscapes, heavens, clouds, and everything else with a view to discerning the glory God has hidden there (Prov. 25.2). Our sense of His Presence, care, and constant oversight will be greatly enhanced as we take delight in and study the works of God for the purpose of meeting Him there (Ps. 111.2).
And this can also help us to be more constant and effective in our witness for the Lord (Acts 1.8). As we discern and delight in the Presence of God and His works, we’ll be able to talk with others about what we see. We can help them see more deeply into everyday wonders they might otherwise overlook, and teach them to connect these marvels with the goodness and glory of God.
Make it a point each day to note, observe, give thanks for, and rejoice in the many ways God shows you His goodness and glory in the world around. Then, as His docent of glory, share His goodness with someone in your Personal Mission Field.
Here are some activities you can practice to help you in working your Personal Mission Field as a docent of glory:
- First – and we remind you of this every month – make sure you have mapped out your Personal Mission Field. Once you have done that, get in the habit of praying daily for the people you expect to meet. As you daily fill up on the Good News of salvation, remember to pray for the people you’ll see that day, so that you’ll be ready to share the Lord’s good things with them.
- Start paying more attention to all the ways God shows you His goodness throughout the day. Make a point to pause for a brief prayer of thanksgiving for each of these. This will help you in two ways: by paying more attention to God’s goodness, and by vocalizing that goodness in prayer.
- Order a free copy of our book, Christians on the Front Lines of the Culture Wars (click here). This little book can show you how to see the glory of God, like Jesus did, in everything from coins to paintings and much more.
- Begin talking regularly with your Christian friends about the goodness of God, which will bless them, for sure; and it will also help to prepare you for speaking about God’s goodness to the unbelieving people in your Personal Mission Field.|
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.