LIVING ABOVE OBLIGATION
• Isaiah 43:16-21 • Psalm 126 • Philippians 3:4b-14 • John 12:1-8
Good, better, best
never rest till the good is better
and the better best! This was the first thought that crossed my mind this morning.
These words were the opening remarks in a chapel message shared by the President of the College I attended years ago.
He was a motivator. He believed his job was to encourage us onward and upward.
Woke up this morning, felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. For people with sarcoidosis that statement takes on a significant meaning.
My mind runs with unfinished thoughts running into ….yet one more …BUT I HAVE TO DO THIS.
Call to Worship: Lord as I participate in writing this meditation today I wonder what new thought or old thought will captivate my mind. Will I experience a new sense of freedom or will I be reminded of what has to be done? Please give guidance, opening doorways in my mind and in my walk.
Open the Eyes of my Heart
As I read through the scriptures a message kept coming to me that was different then where I was, my mind was thousands of paragraphs away from what I was reading.
Isaiah says: 43:18 Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. 43:19 I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. 43:20 The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, 43:21 the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise.
Isaiah gives a logical developmental process leading to and concluding in praise. Praise was the furthest thing from my mind.
Then the Psalmist talks about the dream being fulfilled and people laughing, being joyful. Again I say to myself, what does this have to do with me? I don’t have time for that right now.
The Apostle Paul says I press on….. I can understand Paul. He speaks my language. He is a stoic of “stoics!” Preach it Paul, preach it brother is all I can think. Got a lot to do before the sun sets. Didn’t matter that the sun hadn’t even risen on this day. Just a lot to do. Couldn’t even tell you what was on my list, but the list was being made. Preach it Paul, preach it.
I knew I was on the right track with my thoughts. The fourth and final reading came up. My eyes passed the words like I was being dutiful and responsible. Speed reading 101 was being reintroduced to my mind. Then the final words of Jesus ended this passage.
12:8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” Stop, take time for me. It was as if Jesus was saying, my friend, stop let’s spend some time together.
Today was a special day. My room mate from college stopped by. He said he was in the neighborhood (3 1/2 hours away) and was remembering the old times when we would pray together and eat the care package of chocolate chip cookies his grandmother would send. Hey Carl can we spend some time in prayer together like we used to. I got a lot of things on my plate. Remember how we would talk and then ask for understanding, talk more, pray more. It was not uncommon to pray all night. So we picked up where we left off.
Jesus said you will always have the poor with you. You will always have the pressures of ministry, the tasks before us that just have to get done. You will always have people taking time that you want to use for special things, but today spend time with me. I want to teach you about the newness of life, I want to teach you about joy, about laughter, I want to watch you smile, laugh until you cry. I want you to be happy.
The purpose of these meditations is to discover a new or renewed sense of spirituality. Each of the texts tell of God’s activity with people. By applying these texts to each other and then to your own life your own spirit is nurtured.
Please take time to write your own meditation, write down how the text helps you to understand God, then write down how your life becomes one with the Biblical text.
A few songs to understand the words of Jesus:
Glory to God Hallelujah https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlHUN106gnE
I’ve got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy
Concluding thought: Our God is an Awesome God