Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thursday, September 1 ~ Miriam

Today's reading from the Chronological OT/NT Reading Plan is 2 Chronicles 17-18; 2 Corinthians 6.

2 Corinthians 6:6-10 - We show we are servants of God by our pure lives, our understanding, patience, and kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by true love,7 by speaking the truth, and by God's power. We use our right living to defend ourselves against everything.8 Some people honor us, but others blame us. Some people say evil things about us, but others say good things. Some people say we are liars, but we speak the truth.9 We are not known, but we are well known. We seem to be dying, but we continue to live. We are punished, but we are not killed.10 We have much sadness, but we are always rejoicing. We are poor, but we are making many people rich in faith. We have nothing, but really we have everything.

Wow.  I've read this passage before but it really spoke to me today.  I often struggle with how to show people that I'm a Christian without going around and announcing it and preaching to people.  If they want preaching, they'll find it.  I don't want to turn people off or drive them away.  I want to draw them nearer and introduce them to Jesus (or at least to Christians) in a non-threatening, non-intimidating way.  How do I do that?  Here we have the answer:  pure lives, our understanding, patience, and kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by true love, by speaking the truth, and by God's power.  Easier said than done, but working on it.

I love verse 10.  Rejoicing in sadness?  Yes, please.  Have nothing, but really have everything?  You bet.  

And how do we work on these attitudes?  By remembering that this life is so very temporary.  It's hard, I know.  It's easy to focus on the details.  Can I get the kids into swimming lessons at the same time on the same day?  How many months will we have to wait for a doctor's appointment?  How much money is in the grocery budget this week?  Is there any gas in the truck?  Where did those gray hairs come from, and how quickly can I cover them up?  When do I next have to do the children's story at church and what should I talk about?  How do the kids manage to get stains on absolutely anything white?

Not saying we should ignore those things.  Those things are part of doing the work.  But we need to keep in mind that this life is not all there is... not by a long shot. Life down here is filled with sorrow and sickness and death and hardships... but there is also so much beauty and joy and love and richness.  Is your glass half full or half empty?  There is much to be done and much to enjoy in this life, but as much as we need to be "in the moment" as the saying goes, we still need to remember that everything we're doing here is leading up to eternity.

It's hard to keep our eyes on Jesus and look towards the future when we've got so much going on here, and especially because we're not really sure what the life over yonder will be like.  We need to remember that as busy as things are and as important as these things seem, we still have more than we can imagine ahead of us to look forward to.  The best is yet to come.  If we can remind ourselves that even though the tough times seem interminable while we're in them, our joy comes not from our present circumstances but our hope for the future, then we will be able to say "really we have everything".

 Tomorrow's passage:  2 Chronicles 19-20; 2 Corinthians 7.


LaughingLady said...

Great post, Miriam. It really is all about keeping heaven in mind, isn't it? Some people argue if we think about heaven too much, we're not good for anything here in this life ("too heavenly-minded to be any earthly good"), but it's exactly that anticipation of heaven that helps us live noticeably different lives; to persevere, living joyful, grateful lives despite all circumstances.

TammyIsBlessed said...

The anticipation of heaven, living now in such a way as to make a difference for eternity, keeping our "light and momentary troubles" in perspective against the backdrop of forever - that's how to keep on keeping on, and others will notice the difference in us!