For the next four weeks, I'm going to be reflecting on the season of Advent in my daily devotions--extending the conversation from the sermons I'm preaching each week on how to: Give More, Spend Less, Worship Fully and Love All.
On a trip that included a stop in Denmark, I bought an awesome watch made by the Danish company Skagen. I loved that watch. It looked cool on my wrist. I felt like it made me look like a well-travelled, debonair man of the world.
And then one day someone stole the watch out of my duffle bag at the gym. I left it in a locker only for a few moments while I was showering, but that's all it took. My cool Danish watch was gone forever. I no longer felt debonair.
We've all had those moments when we've lost our possessions or had them taken from us. Sometimes it happens in epic fashion.
I've had some recent conversations with people who lost everything in the floods that rose after the recent hurricanes in Texas. While they were heartbroken and grieving, most of them shared the same sentiments in the end: "It was just stuff, and stuff can be replaced."
The Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius stated that we don't really own anything, and that even our lives are held in trust.
Austin-based author Ryan Holiday applies this notion to more than just possessions when he writes:
"We may claw and fight and work to own things, but those things can be taken away in a second. The same goes for other things we like to think are 'ours' but are equally precarious: our status, our physical health or strength, our relationships."
Jesus urged his followers not to spend all of their time, energies and resources solely for the purpose of collecting things that would not last beyond this life. Instead, he challenged them to devote themselves to eternal work---peace, justice, healing, joy and love.
"When you seek the kingdom of God first," he essentially told them, "all of the other stuff works itself out."
May you do good work for the kingdom of God today--work that will result in eternal results. May you find ways to give more of yourself and what you have to demonstrate the peace of God everywhere you go.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.