Daily Devotion - Thursday, April 7, 2016
It occurs to me sometimes that I'm more selfish than I should be. I don't often spend a lot of time ruminating over whether I am leaving a better world to the next generation. I know that I should, but I don't.
Truth be told, there is a small, mean-spirited sliver to my soul that wants to tell the next generation: "Nobody seemed to care all that much about handing me a better life--I've pretty much had to make do with what I got, you ungrateful so-and-so!"
Most of us have that little mean-spirited sliver, if we are being honest. And for a lot of Christians, we extend it to matters of faith, tradition and to the church and worship. Far too many of us want what we want now, with little thought for the generations to come.
I was reading today from 1 Peter chapter 1 and I found this verse:
"It was revealed to [the ancient prophets] that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things." (1 Peter 1:12)
This amazed me, honestly. Peter believed that when the prophets were prophesying about the coming Messiah, they were given a vision of the generations to come who would be blessed, transformed and rescued by his sacrifice and the glory that would follow.
"It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you..."
If I am not vigilant with my selfishness (which happens far too frequently), I find myself focusing on my own preferences when it comes to the practice of my faith, to church, worship and the like--worrying about getting what I perceive that I need and want first and foremost.
But when I am being my best self, I realize a few things:
First, there were so many people who came before me who had the foresight to figuratively plant trees they would never see grow. They laid the foundations for spiritual (and sometimes material) buildings that would never get built in their lifetime. Without these saints, I would not be here.
Second, the moment when I focus only on my own needs, wants and desires, is also the moment I lose my ability to wonder about the people who aren't worshipping with me, who aren't in church, but who might need to be--the people who will pick up the mantle after me.
Finally, I need to realize that as a part of the body of Christ, I am part of something that is far bigger than me. This is cosmic level stuff, to be honest. Which is why Peter added in that last line, "Even angels long to look into these things."
It was his way of saying, "The vision these prophets had is a vision of cosmic redemption, of incredible restoration of all of Creation through the Resurrection. It's the same vision you need to have--and to pass on to those who come after you."
And all of this brings me to my knees in humility. This whole thing that God is doing through the Resurrection of Jesus is not about just me. I get to be a part of it. I get to join in the joy. I get to experience wonder and amazement at God's resurrecting power, but it's not just about me. It's about all of us. Everywhere. In every time and place.
May you catch the vision of God's great cosmic story of redemption. May you see your part in that story, and may you create space for others to follow you and find theirs as well. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.