I have friends with tattoos.
These markings are often deeply meaningful to them as statements of who they are and what they want to remember. There are many popular tattoo symbols that do this. The anchor is a symbol of hope, the dove represents peace, the cross identifies the death and resurrection of Christ. There are pastors who have Bible verses inscribed in Greek or Hebrew; these are good conversation starters.
Two tattoo symbols that were new to me are the semicolon and this puzzling string of characters G>^v. In English grammar, the semicolon indicates a pause in a sentence: The semicolon represents a past, a pause, and a future. As a tattoo, the semicolon represents a life transition, moving hopefully from one phase to another. The character string of G>^v says, “God is greater than my highs and lows.”
There are also biblical examples of markings. Paul, for example, writes, “I bear on my body the marks of Jesus” (Galatians 4:17). Jesus says to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe” (John 20:27). Through the prophet Isaiah, God says, “I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:16).
In the Isaiah passage, the marks on the palms of God’s hands are a reminder of the faithfulness of God to his people. Charles Spurgeon takes this passage and writes about what it means to be engraved on God’s hands in a November 7 Morning by Morning devotional.
Spurgeon says, “He never fails; He is never a dry well; He is never as a setting sun, a passing meteor, or a melting vapor…” “[God says], I have engraved your person, your image, your case, your circumstances, your sins, your temptations, your weaknesses, your needs, your works! I have engraved you, everything about you, all that concerns you; I have put you altogether there.” Assurance and strength come from knowing that God has permanently and eternally marked his people on himself and they will never be forgotten. God is faithful.
As a Christian leader, be assured that God is always with you.
And, as God’s representative, share this word with those for whom you are responsible that they are important to you: You attend to their needs, encourage them according to their strengths, and care for them in their areas of weakness.
Church Leadership Center has course facilitators and personal mentors who are experienced pastoral leaders. They model the presence of Christ. It is as if our participants are tattooed or engraved on them.