A New Interest

Sheba KevDo you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  1 Corinthians 9:24-25

Sheba is getting old; she walks slower and seldom runs, and she loves to lie around and sleep a lot.  If she were human she would probably complain that life has become boring and meaningless, with her only pleasure coming from pleasant daydreams of the past or from the love and attention of her family.  But the other day Sheba developed a new interest that revolutionized her attitude.  There are lots of rabbits around our home and Sheba has pretty much ignored them for the year we’ve lived here.  On this morning, she stopped and stared—for a long time—not moving, hardly breathing—at a rabbit.  And the rabbit was watching her pretty closely too, ready to bound away if Sheba so much as blinked!  Finally, curiosity got the   better of her and she made a quick move toward the rabbit, but surprise, surprise; it didn’t just sit there and wait for her; and the chase was on.  Suddenly her whole body was infused with a new purpose; she just had to chase that rabbit.  Where did it go?  She knew it was on the neighbor’s patio, but how could she get to it?  Straining on her leash, her eyes bright with excitement, her cute, curly little tail wriggling with anticipation; she was like a puppy again, with a whole new goal in life.

Do you ever catch yourself sinking into monotony—content to lie around and sleep, or to sit and watch TV, or to do whatever it is you do when you’re bored and have no sense of purpose?  Have you ever considered just sitting still and waiting on God for a while; then getting up with a renewed sense of energy and purpose as He takes off in a new direction and your desire is to chase after Him?

If Sheba could get to that rabbit next door, just think of the fun she might have continuing the chase.  And remember the hidden joys that God has waiting for us if we persevere and follow him to the next adventure.  Then when we come to the end of our lives we can agree with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

In the Morning We Flourish…

 

The day lilies in my yard astonish me with their beauty—their delicacy and rich colors shout to my spirit of the vibrant imagination and creativity of God.  Aptly known by the scientific name, Hemerocallis, which comes from the Greek words for “day” and “beautiful,” they bloom one morning and have wilted by the next; great illustrations of God’s truth about the brevity of life.

He comes out like a flower and withers; he flees like a shadow and continues not.  Job 14:2

O Lord, what is man who you regard him, or the son of man who you think of him?  Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.  Psalm 144:3-4

In the morning of our lives we flourish, blossoming out to become all that God created us to be; growing from helpless infants into accomplished adults, developing careers, raising families, reaching for our dreams.

But it doesn’t last long.  Soon, a look in the mirror reminds us that youth is fading and we may become desperate to hold onto it—turning to diet, exercise and Botox to ward off the inevitable.  And yet, time marches forward, and suddenly we have become parents, then grandparents, then great-grandparents; and we wonder how it happened so fast.

As I ponder the scope of my years, God puts it in perspective for me.  My life isn’t really about the brief time that I am confined to this body—it is about preparing for the eternity I will spend with Him—this is just my warm-up for forever.  So why should I lament the trials I go through now since He has made it plain that they are meant to strengthen me?

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  James 1:2-4

Watching the Summer Olympics, I realized that I’ve never heard an Olympian complain about the rigors of training—each one gladly pays the necessary price to compete in their games.  And so I too will persevere, remembering Paul’s words that,

Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.  2 Timothy 4:8

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:1-2