Tim Maudlin: Do Justice, Love Mercy and Kindness, and Walk Humbly with God

Editor's note: Every two weeks, the Church Anew leadership team gathers for prayer, reflection, and visioning. This devotion was shared at our last meeting in December with Pastor David Lillejord, Pastor Matthew Fleming, Pastor Gail Bach and Pastor Mary Brown by Mr. Tim Maudlin. We'd like to share our 2021 intention with you.

Good morning Pastors Matthew, Mary, David, and Gail.

Thanks for the opportunity to share devotions today as we are grateful for God’s blessings of Church Anew initiatives in 2020 and plan for 2021. As we conclude Advent and are turning to Christmas, I praise God for grace in Christ as the light of the world and thank each of you as sisters and brothers in Christ for your lives of faith, leadership of St. Andrew and Church Anew, and our shared passion and friendship in proclaiming the Gospel.

I have the following three main points in the form of questions for your consideration during our devotions this morning:

  1. What is your daily playlist? 
  2. What is your life’s playbook? 
  3. How will you magnify the Lord? 

While I share my illustrations, I invite you to ponder your answers to these questions.

What is your daily playlist?

My daily faith playlist begins with morning prayers before getting out of bed, continues with prayers and dialogue with my wife throughout the day, and concludes with our shared counting the blessings of the day followed by our evening prayers before sleeping.

My playlist focus also includes a daily walk in the regional hiking trail during which I often listen to four Christian contemporary songs. My song playlist begins with “Call It Grace.” Consider a few of the lyrics from this song: “Amazing, unshaking, this is grace. Unchanging, unfailing, this is grace. Some may call it foolish and impossible, but for every heart, it’s a miracle. It’s nothing less than scandalous that Jesus took our place. Call it what it is, just call it grace.” While listening, I ask myself: “What is my response to God’s grace? Gratitude? Cheerfulness? Generosity? Love?”

My song playlist continues with “The Blessing” which begins with the words of the Benediction recorded in Numbers Chapter 6: “The Lord bless you and keep you, make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord turns His face toward you and gives you peace.” Then the song’s lyrics reference Deuteronomy 7:9, “May God’s favor be upon you in one thousand generations and your family and your children and their children and their children. May God’s presence go before you and behind you and beside you, all around you, and within you. God is with you. God is with you. In the morning, in the evening, in your coming, in your going, in your weeping, in your rejoicing, God is with you. Christ is with you.”

What a comforting and empowering reality to experience Emmanuel, God with us, and knowing that nothing will ever separate us from God.

My third song in my playlist is “Gracefully Broken,” which has the following lyrics that often serve as petitions in my prayers: “Here I am God, arms wide open. Pouring out my life, gracefully broken. All I have in these hands and all that I am, multiply for You. Find my heart on the altar again and set me on fire. Set me on fire. My heart stands in awe of your name. Your mighty love stands strong to the end. You will fulfill your purpose in me. You won’t forsake me. You will be with me. All to Jesus now. I’m holding nothing back, holding nothing back. I surrender. Have your way, use me Lord, do your will. It’s all your way. Use my life for your Glory.”

What are your frequent prayer petitions?

My song playlist continues with “Humble and Kind.” This song reminds me of Micah 6:8 where God invites us to do justice, to love mercy and kindness, and to walk humbly with God. While listening to “Humble and Kind” and pondering Micah 6:8 in my daily life, I sometimes watch the song’s uplifting music video which remind me of my wife’s executive director leadership role for more than 10 years of a semi-professional choral singing group which celebrated concerts and community engagement experiences honoring more than 70 cultures from around the world.

Other “Humble and Kind” lyrics include: “Visit grandpa every chance you can. It won’t be a waste of time.” As a grandpa of an 8-year-old granddaughter, I treasure every moment with her. Thankfully, she also thinks of me as “goofy grandpa!”

I imagine Pastors Mary and Gail are each grateful to have become a grandmother in 2020, each thrilled with every precious moment with their respectful grandchild. I expect Pastor David will welcome, in the Lord’s time, the joy of becoming a grandparent. I imagine that Pastor Matthew, as a father of two elementary school daughters, doesn’t currently have a glimmer in his eye about becoming a grandparent.

The last “Humble and Kind” lyrics are “Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you. Don’t forget to turn back around, help the next one in line, always stay humble and kind.”

These concluding lyrics invite us to consider our family and leadership roles and to help the people next in line that each of us are invited to mentor, love, and empower, including to do justice, love mercy and kindness, and walk humbly with God.

What is your life’s playbook?

As you ponder your playlists, consider your daily choices in the context of your life’s playbook.

Several years ago, my wife and I decided to explicitly state our faith and values, our life priorities, and goals in a written document we call “Blessed to be a Blessing.” We update “Blessed to be a Blessing” each Easter and Thanksgiving and then share “Blessed” with our adult children and their spouses. We are grateful for the extended family consideration of our faith and values, life priorities and goals. We engage our family in dialogue about their own situations.

While “Blessed” serves as a guidepost of our playbook for life, I invite you to state your playbook priorities and goals formally and explicitly. How are you sharing your faith and values, priorities, and goals with the next ones in line?

How will you magnify the Lord?

In Luke Chapter 1 we read Mary’s Magnificat that “my soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God.” How will you magnify the Lord? How will you do justice, love mercy and kindness, and walk humbly with God? In 2021, how will Church Anew magnify the Lord?

The hope of my wife and me is shared in part in our 2020 Christmas card greeting entitled “Faith, Hope, and Joy,” Reading excerpts: “Christmas greetings, friends. We are grateful for God’s grace and blessings in our lives, including the gift of each day and being healthy while the Covid infections and deaths surge. We are sheltering in our home while staying connected virtually with family and friends. We are thankful for St. Andrew’s live streaming of uplifting worship services, Jan’s weekly bible study groups are staying virtually engaged and connected, Tim’s fulfilling corporate and volunteer roles are also virtual. We are thankful that Doug, Laurie, Avery, Eric, and Sokhey are healthy and blessed in so many ways. We are grateful that God’s grace in Christ always shines brightly with hope and love. We pray as following Jesus, born to be our savior, that you will be blessed with love, joy, and peace. We pray that our nation’s soul will begin to be healed with compassion and gratitude. We hope that you will be thankful for every day, share kindness with everyone, and seek to serve God always. In Christ, with love, Tim and Jan.”

In summary, I invite each of you to consider personally and in our respective leadership roles, including for Church Anew, how in 2021 you individually and we together will answer these questions:

What is your playlist?

What is your playbook?

How will you magnify the Lord?

In conclusion, dear friends in Christ, thank you for your lives of faith being Jesus in word and deed including through the leadership and blessing of Church Anew. Let us pray with praise to the Lord.


Tim Maudlin is a member of St. Andrew Lutheran Church and volunteer member of the Church Anew leadership team. He is currently Chairperson of St. Olaf College's Lutheran Center for Faith, Values, and Community and Regent and member of the College's Executive Committee. He is a member of Luther Seminary's Innovation Team's Advisory Council and past director of Luther Seminary. He is a former trustee and board chair of Augsburg Fortress (d/b/a 1517 Media), the publishing unit of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.


Used with permission. Originally posted on Church Anew, a ministry of St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie, MN.

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