Justin Hiebert

Catalyzing Change

Childlike Faith

Posted on 28 Dec 2013 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Childlike Faith

In my office of many leather bound books that smell of rich mahogany, sits one tiny bamboo plant. Why wife bought it for me earlier in the year as a way to spruce up the room. It added a nice touch of green, and I’ve really come to enjoy it.

But a few weeks ago I had set it outside to get some afternoon sun and then accidentally left it outside over night. I woke up in the morning, went to go grab the plant, and realized that it was covered in snow.

Now, a few months later, there sits a shriveled and dead bamboo plant on my desk. It’s unsightly, brown, and wilted.

My dead bamboo plant

My dead bamboo plant

This morning, my daughter notices the plant and asks why it looks so sad, and after explaining the story she looks at it for a few quick seconds and then says, “That’s OK, God can heal it.”

My immediate reaction was to laugh it off, “Sure thing baby, God will bring my dead plant back to life.” insert smug laughter here.

But the more I thought about that statement, the more I heard God prompting me towards thoughts of him.

  1. “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” I can talk, preach, write, and verbally ascent to God restoring and redeeming all things, but I also know that it’s easy to just let that stuff be words. The more I surround myself with the educated analysis of texts and theological arguments, the easier I find it to dismiss the simple answers. I saw the plant as rubbish and needing to be thrown out, my daughter saw the infinite beauty in it and the chance for God to do his thing: redeem and save something broken and dying.
  2. From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise. My initial thought was of her care-free and ignorant approach to loftier things like plant life. In my head, I was a pretty smug jerk. Oh how cute, if only she knew of loftier things like scientific necessities for life and botany. In reality, it was me who needed the lesson: never lose sight of what God is doing through others, even those that may seem to know less. Her thoughts were of God and his amazing power to do the impossible, mine were on myself and my own knowledge. She longingly expected God to work, I expected my wallet to buy me a new one.
  3. My heart can often be like my bamboo plant: dead and in need of a God who can bring it back to life. While thinking about this conversation, I had the lyrics to a Gungor song pop into my head, which in part say: “You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of the dust, You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of us.” I can be pretty quick to judge or determine the fate of something if I don’t like it, either in myself or others; but what I need most is compounding grace and a God to break into my world and make all things new.

Will God cure my dead bamboo plant? I dunno, probably not (though that would be the sweetest story if he did). But what that conversation reminded me is that I serve a God that can do anything. It’s more than verbal mutterings during a sermon, more than words on a page, and more than a cool story; it is the power of the creating and resurrecting God that is at work in our world. It’s about more than the status of the bamboo plant, it’s about the status of my heart and the way I see God working in those around me.

Over the last two of years, I’ve been to the doctors more than the entirety of the rest of my life. I’m not old by any means, but I can already tell you that a twenty-eight year old body doesn’t respond to late night pizza like an eighteen year old body. After more than two cookies and I start to feel sick, which is a far cry from the sixteen year old version of me that once proudly downed fourteen Krispy Kreme donuts in one sitting. There have been times where I’ve wondered why my body was falling apart and I’ve come to expect it to start to fail me. I’ve seen my body hurt and ache in new ways and feared what was next, and truth be told, the fear has been crippling at times. I’m not as fast, agile, or quick to recover as I once was. But my daughter served as a reminder of the ways in which God can work in, through, and sometimes despite my condition (either physically or in my heart).

It was also a great reminder of the type of God that I serve. Working in an impoverished area of Denver, it’s easy for me to see piles and piles of needs, and lose track of the hope that exists. I tend to focus on the problems and not on the progress. I see hurting and broken people, dead like my plant, and find it easy to dismiss or think less of them. Yet the wisdom of my four year old challenges this: nothing is beyond redemption, salvation, or new life when God is at work, if only we have eyes to see and faith to believe.

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Justin Hiebert

Leadership Catalyst - Entrepreneur - Coach at JSHiebert Leadership Coaching
I am a Business and Life Coach in both non-profit and for profit settings. I coach leaders, executives, and pastors in areas of vision, clarity, and values. In relationship coaching I focus on healthy and sustainable relationships, and in leadership development roles I catalyze change for individuals and groups to thrive. I also consult churches and organizations on how to train new leaders and create a healthy culture. In addition to that, I am an Anabaptist pastor in the Denver metro area. I specialize on topics that include: missional theology, discipleship, culture and the church in today’s society. I am married to my wonderful wife Elise and we have three kids. I grew up and now work in the United States Mennonite Brethren Church (USMB) and love the people and history of the Mennonite Brethren faith. I am a graduate of Tabor College with a dual degree in Youth Ministry and Christian Leadership, a graduate of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary with a Masters of Divinity, and a Doctoral Student and Bethel Seminary. I also teach college classes in areas of Bible, Communication, and Business.

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