I wanted to share a great author with you, Margaret Feinberg. I think you’ll LOVE her writing! Have a blessed day!
Dry Bones or An Army: What’s Your Vision As a Leader?
By Margaret Feinberg
Thousands of years ago the prophet Ezekiel looked at the milky white substance lining the ground in wonderment. Surely, it was too warm for snow. The prophet leaned down for a closer examination. Bones. Bleached bones. Dry. Cracked. Then probably stepped back as if he’d seen a ghost.
Why did God bring him here? There’s no life in the valley-only death.
Every priest and prophet knew death as a defiling agent. Many years before the Lord spoke to Moses to instruct the priests, “There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people” (Leviticus 21:1).
Yet standing before the vast valley, Ezekiel felt a quiet voice stirring in his soul. Prophesy, the whisper said. Ezekiel cleared his throat, as if his cough would disturb the dead, and began to prophesy.
Ezekiel heard a soft rattling behind him. The clatter grew louder until the sound of it echoed throughout the valley. Bones wiggled in the dirt, then began to rock back and forth. Ezekiel gasped and dropped his arms as something hit him in the back of the leg. The bones were flying together! They smacked as joint hit upon joint all around him. The bones were forming skeletons, the structure of the human body.
The rattling halted abruptly and into a holy silence. Ezekiel knelt down to look at a skeleton and watched as flesh and tendons formed, attaching themselves to joints and each other, constructing an entire muscular network. Ezekiel gawked as flesh, like a droplet of water hitting a still lake, rippled into existence. Hair sprouted from follicles, creating a tangle of color similar to his own.
The body looked real, except for the pale color of death on its cheeks. Ezekiel felt God’s quiet voice stirring, Prophesy again. Ezekiel stood up and spread his arms for the second time. Thousands upon thousands of bodies lay before him, stretching from one edge of the valley to the other. His voice caught in his throat as he began to speak.
The bodies inhaled their first breath like a newborn child, chest cavities rising, eyes opened. They began to extend their limbs, as if shaking sleepiness from them, and stood to face each other, greeting and talking as if old friends. The noise of the chatter was deafening.
Hesitating, Ezekiel reached out and gingerly touched the shoulder of one of the men. The man turned his face toward Ezekiel and smiled.
When Ezekiel looked into the valley, he saw dry and brittle bones, dead things. When God looked into the valley, he saw an army, ready for battle.
The question for us becomes: When you look at the church, what do you see?
Some hail that the church is nothing more than dry bones, a dried institution lacking life, but I can’t help but think God wants to give us the vision of Ezekiel.
Throughout Scripture, God uses people who could be dismissed as nothing more than “dry bones.” People who don’t seem to have much to offer. People with a laundry lists of inadequacies. Moses was a murderer with a speech impediment. Rehab earned her keep through prostitution. Peter had a way of saying the wrong thing at the worst time. Yet in Ezekiel 37, God reminds us in an unforgettable scene that what we dismiss and even stand back from for fear of defilement can become a source of life, hope and power.
The question of what you see isn’t just true of the church but also those around you. Who in your life have you dismissed as nothing more than “dry bones”? Who have you given up on? Let go of?
In your own church community, is there anybody you dismiss because you only see dry bones?
My hope and prayer is that God will give you eyes to see what His vision as you raise up leaders who will take the Good News to the next generation.
Margaret Feinberg is author of the new “Pursuing God” 6-week DVD series with Zondervan. Become a Fan on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @mafeinberg.