Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Like the Birds

I read an article yesterday that really made me think about what I've been thinking about... Do you ever have those moments? You're sitting at church, listening to the radio, watching TV, and all of sudden something jumps out at you and brings to light the thoughts that have been lingering in the back of your mind, everything suddenly coming together at once. Well, that's what happened. Although I had been aware of my thoughts (I always try to be!), I hadn't really put them all together.

So here it is...I've been thinking about how short life is. How important it is to do something (as in your life's work) you love with the few breaths that you have rather than something you have to do. If you talk to people who've been in the same job for twenty years or sometimes even just five years, you may get a lecture about how it's more important to make sure there's food on the table and clothes on your back than to be happy. "When we were growing up that's all there was. No one was worried about being happy. Happy is having food in your stomach!" Or something to that affect.

Then I think of my grandfather, who lived his life to the fullest, pastoring a small, poor congregation. He and my grandma visited the sick, the elderly, the downcast. They gave all they could give, even sometimes giving their food to people who had less than they did. My dad and his siblings tell stories of how they would get "treats" every once in a while like a McDonald's cheeseburger or a gallon of ice cream. How it would disappear so fast and you better get your share. Of all the sacrifices my dad and his siblings made because of my grandfather's "poverty" they never went hungy and they never slept on the streets...unless, of course, by choice! But my grandfather, I think, was one of the richest men I've ever known. He did what he loved and he didn't care about the "riches" of the world. He cared about people and he cared about honoring God with his life. At his funeral there were countless testimonies of lives changed because of that wonderful, bald man!a

Sometimes the stuff of life overshadows the truly important. We get caught up from day to day, worried about what we'll have for dinner because the cabinets and refrigerator are overflowing and we just can't decide...We worry about what to wear, not because we have not, but because what people will think when they see us. I'm reminded of the passage in Matthew... (6:25-34 The Message) "If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

"Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."

Isn't it amazing that we have a God who wants to take care of us like that?! All we have to do is ask, seek, knock, knowing that He'll be there to answer. So why do we toil and worry and spend lifeless days doing things we hate just to have that next greatest toy or outfit or meal? Won't our Father take care of it all?

Hear my heart here: It is important for us to work and to provide for our families and to take care of the things that we have, but not at the expense of fulfilling God's call on our lives or even of our ultimate fulfillment. I truly believe that when we seek God for our situation, and follow in the path that He lays out for us riches may or may not come, but wherever we are we will be happy, fed, clothed, and fulfilled. Our short breath of a life will be a sigh of contentment and joy rather than a choked puff of smoke.

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