Monday, March 4 2024 - 7:39 PM

Sharing Scripture — December 2, 2023

Mission to the Powerful

 

For use: November 26 – December 2, 2023
Texts: Daniel 4; 2 Kings 5:1–19; John 3:1–12; 7:43–52; 19:38–42; Matthew 19:16–22

 

World-renowned tattoo artist and entrepreneur Kat Von D recently renounced her former spiritual beliefs and took the baptismal plunge. She hopes that her ongoing transformation inspires and uplifts others struggling in their spiritual journeys.

Although the “LA Ink” star posted her baptism online and openly claims to be “on fire for Jesus,” critics doubt her testimony. Some Christians protest her choice to continue wearing all-black outfits and to cover up her old tattoos with more ink, and others suggest that she is merely seeking attention or that she has fallen into corrupted Christianity.

In an interview with Allie Beth Stuckey, she sets the record straight: She was not a witch or Satanist, but was indeed rebellious toward God and smothered herself in spiritual Band-Aids. She also reveals that sobriety and her husband catalyzed her turn to the Christian faith.

Von D’s spiritual journey is ongoing and isn’t happening overnight. She’s still studying, still learning about Christ.

We can question her motives all we want, but the joke is really on us. Von D’s shocking (and gradual) transformation shouldn’t come as any surprise; throughout holy scripture we see how God turned the hearts of narcissistic kings, greedy tax collectors, the rich, the learned, and the schooled in war.

Although it is difficult for the rich and powerful to give up their holdings (Matthew 19:24), they are not unreachable … even if their stories take years to develop.

For example, the Gospel of John chronicles how little by little Nicodemus came to understand the importance of openly proclaiming Christ as Lord of his life.

King Nebuchadnezzar was an even harder nut to crack. He resisted God even after receiving visions and godly counsel. Eventually he was subjected to insanity. He had to lose everything to find what was most important to him.

Let’s not forget Paul, a Jewish leader who condoned the stoning of Christians. He went on to become perhaps the most outspoken and well-known Christian apologist. It should be noted that he spent a handful of years studying the scriptures with the other apostles before he could begin his ministry.

And then there’s Naaman. We don’t hear much about him, but we know that despite believing in God he would still accompany his master in pagan rituals. We don’t know what happened to him after he departed from Elisha, but we have the hope that God continued working on his heart.

And with that in mind, we can be a little less critical toward the powerful, the rich, the haughty, and focus more on helping spread the gospel among them. We can plant the seeds, and God will tend to the crop and reap the harvest.

 

For Reflection

 

Connecting: What was your initial reaction to Kat Von D’s conversion? Did it change after watching her interview?

Sharing: Which of the following person-in-power transformation stories from the Bible do you like the most, and why?

  1. King Nebuchadnezzar
  2. Nicodemus
  3. Naaman
  4. Paul
  5. The King of Nineveh (during Jonah’s ministry)
  6. The Ethiopian Eunuch
  7. Other

Applying: Consider TIME100’s The Most Influential People of 2023. Each person in your group can pick (or be assigned) one of the individuals listed and then take five minutes to brainstorm how that person could be reached, and to imagine what their influence would look like as a Christian. Following the activity, take time to pray for that individual.

Valuing: How can you, your small group, and your congregation better address the gap between the rich and poor in your ministry? Pray for guidance and inspiration.

 

~ Stefani Leeper

 

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