Write it Plain

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Habakkuk had several complaints to the Lord. In Habakkuk 1:2 he asked the question, “how long shall I cry and you will not hear, even if I cry violence you won’t save me?" He went on to tell God how awful the conditions were. God answered that He would do a work that Habakkuk would not believe even if it was told him. (Hab 1:5)
Habakkuk asked another question, “Why do you look on the wicked and hold your tongue?” In chapter 2:1 Habakkuk said he would stand on the tower to see what God would say to him.
In chapter 2:2 God told him to write the vision, and make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. Nothing wordy, not vague, but the truth should be understandable and easy to read even for the person running.
I thought about the task at hand of reviewing our Decrees For to Keep. I wonder what God’s word to us would be if we stood on the tower and listened. Of course, we don’t know what God would tell us, but I would like to offer a few things that seem important and believe He would have us consider.
Pilgrim Conference has just passed the 26th year since her formation. Only a few of our ministry today were in office when our Decrees were written. It seems important that each generation personally claims and feels responsible for the rules and guidelines by which we administrate. It needs to be more than just how it was done in years gone by. As ministry, we should be concerned that areas are addressed that are dangers to us now. We cannot afford to be passive expecting that someone else will do the hard work. Some of us are fearful as we think about touching difficult issues. We remember times that were less than desirable when we worked through hard issues. In I Corinthians 16:13, Paul says we are to be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Undertaking an effort to review the Decrees will require us to act like men, and putting heart and soul into doing a work that will bless the generation to come.
One of the trademarks of our Decrees is having scriptures with each subject. We need to affirm in our hearts and pass it on to our children that we will keep it that way. Foundational to the formation of PMC was putting the Bible first in every area of life. We should have Bible principles for every restriction and guideline that we give. Also, we have agreed and want to continue to work with respect to Mennonite tradition. We must take into account also that we have not all had the ‘same Mennonite’ tradition. The Mennonite tradition I had in Georgia was not exactly the same as those in the west or the east, so with respect to that, we go back to the Word for the final authority. We need to remember that right and wrong is not determined by what we say, but by what God says in His Word. We need never be ashamed of our Decrees if we can take the reader to a chapter and a verse for everything written with every restriction based on a Bible principle. How freeing when we have principles as the basis for administration and where no principle is at stake, we let it to Christian liberty.
Plain, able to read them while running, Bible-based, practical, common sense, explainable, the rule and guide of laity and ministry. Is this what God might whisper to us if we stand on the tower and listen?
To the laity; God will be pleased as you rally in prayer support for your leaders. Encourage them to be objective as they take up the challenge to make something that will be a blessing in the next twenty-six years. Then new leaders again will need to personally put heart and soul into the leadership and direction of the Church of Jesus Christ.
Times will change with new customs, pressures, fads, and trends; but what will remain is the Word of God, and the need for leaders to apply it to the day they are living in. If we can pass this on, and write it in a plain way that our children can read as they run, then we are ready to pass the torch on to the next generation.
To our leaders, I hope we meet with renewed zeal and inspiration and rise to the challenge.