I am moving a bit slow this morning due to a new kind of head cold that seems to have snuck up on the scene where I thought I was turning the corner on a cough that has persisted through the holidays.
It is discouraging to say the least. I was hoping to attack today with renewed energy. Instead, I have lingered over my quiet time and even taken a nap.
So in my foggy state, I am sharing two separate thoughts that I hope somehow tie together in your mind as well as they do mine.
Because one of the things I find every time I do a complete read-through of the Bible is that I discover some new things about God and His character that call me to live differently in this world.
Invariably, I am also given an even deeper understanding of how I am called to be a follower by dying to myself and living for God’s purposes in ways that stretch me as layers of selfishness continue to be peeled away.
My Genesis reading this morning covered chapters 22-25 and my first thought is from the account of Abraham’s servant traveling back to his home land to find a wife for his son Isaac from among his family who remained back there.
The servant takes an oath to find a wife for Isaac and bring her back with him. He would only be free to go if she refused to leave that land and come with him.
Here are the aspects of this story that particularly touched my heart this morning as they have in past reading.
The servant prays a pray asking for God to act in a clear and miraculous way, but it is not out of selfish motives.
The prayer is not a prayer for HIM to succeed, but for God to show kindness “to my master Abraham.” (vv. 12 and 27)
This morning, it occurs to me that this servant’s testimony and joy regarding God’s faithfulness and kindness was in what He did for someone else.
Think about that while I share my second thought.
In a book I am reading entitled Your Best Life in Jesus’ Easy Yoke by Bill Gaultiere, the author shares a story he heard once of a Quaker named John Woolman who worked as a tailor many centuries ago.
Because of his hard work and skill at his craft, he developed a good reputation and a growing list of clients and prosperous shop.
But he realized that to continue to take on more clients and have to hire workers and expand his business would mean less and less time to also develop his relationship with Christ.
He did the unthinkable in a capitalist world…he did not worry about losing money or work and instead he accepted the work he could manage and sent the overflow to other tailors who also needed business.
How different are these two mind-sets to us, even us who walk with Christ and seek to learn His ways?
As I read Scripture, I am reminded how much of my thinking is shaped and etched with the culture I live in and the mindset of my here and now, of my own experiences and my own perspectives.
It is refreshing to me to let God speak to me about the better way as I meditate on His Word and the examples of those, both in Scripture and through the generations, who have chosen to walk in step with Jesus instead of the world.
What if the joy of my testimony was about how God showed faithfulness and kindness to those He calls me to serve?
What if I had the courage to turn down any good thing that keeps me from the best thing?
Interesting thoughts to ponder, right?
Have a good Monday and I will check in with you tomorrow…hopefully rested and on the mend!