Daily Devotion - Friday, January 29, 2016
This past Sunday, I continued the sermon series I've been working on for the month of January, a sermon series entitled "My Story: Living the Story You Want to Tell." The basic idea of this sermon series is pretty profound: The decisions you make today, determine the stories you tell tomorrow.
I've been kind of living with this idea for the past several weeks as I've been working and studying for the sermons, and I have to say that it's one of the most important lessons that I've learned in recent memory.
Lately, I've been reflecting on how quickly time seems to be moving. It's already January 29th as I write this, and it feels like New Year's Eve was last week. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of busy-ness. I look at my calendar and can't believe that there are so many things that are on it, so many events, projects, meetings, programs--both personal and professional.
Sometimes my daily schedule gets filled with a lot of things that I feel like I just need to get through. When I begin to view my life this way, I will go from one meeting to the next, one task to the next just checking them off the list, trying to finish so I can be done. The problem is, I'm never really done. There's always another list for tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.
And when you think that you can retire when you get to a certain age and start "taking it easy," forget it. My friend just retired and remarked that he's filled his daily schedule every day and then some. "When did I ever have time for work?" he jokingly asked on Facebook.
Which brings me to the central idea of my most recent sermon series. The decisions you make today... It's not always the big decisions in your life that determine the stories you tell later. Most of the time it's the hundreds of small decisions you make every day, every week that help shape those stories. When you begin to reframe your thinking this way, it makes every day important, every moment precious and full of eternal implications.
When you begin to see all of the moments of your day as precious and eternal, it changes the way you approach them. I'm still working on this, but I get glimpses of the transformation that is slowly taking shape within me as I try to see my days, my moments differently.
I think praying the Lord's Prayer is a wonderful exercise that helps center us each day. If we pray it with thoughtful and faithful hearts we can actually begin to hear what we are saying, coming not just from rote memory, but from a memory deep within us--a memory instilled in us by God himself of a time when all was as it should be in the world.
When we pray, "Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread (whatever we need to sustain us)..." (Matthew 6:9-10) We are expressing the longing that is within us for a more intimate experience of God, a relationship made possible through the Spirit of God in Jesus himself. When we pray this prayer, we are leaning forward hoping to catch a glimpse of eternity in every moment.
May you live and breathe the full meaning of the prayer of Our Lord this day and every day. May you live every moment as a precious and eternal moment, not as a box to be checked off in order to move on the next. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.