Over the past couple of years I have watched from afar a friend from college transform himself. Through a radical change of lifestyle he has gone from obese to in shape. When I see the before and after pictures the transformation is amazing.
Recently he noticed something at the gym. Through his hard work and dedication people at the gym began to notice as well. He starting getting nods from the other gym rats in the free weight area.
When I go to the gym I get nods as well. Only not from the gym rats. My nods come from the old guys on the stationary bikes and coffee drinkers sitting in the hallway. But hey, I’m getting nods right?! On some level it is a sign of acceptance and approval.
It’s interesting where our nods come from. It speaks a lot to who accepts us and who doesn’t. I think that is a large problem in society today. We pick and choose who we will nod to. It also got me thinking who I nod to. Who do I deem worthy of a nod? James says “If you really keep the royal law found in scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. Bu if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” (2:8-9). In other words. Everyone gets a nod.
I think if we were a little more freer with our nod this place just might be better off. I think if our churches and followers of Christ were freer with their nod people would come to see the Christ we know a little easier. They would experience the love of Jesus as we have received it. Let me be clear. This is not a nod to accept behavior contrary to who God is. This is a nod to say you are valued. A nod to say I see you. A nod Jesus gave to a Samaritan woman and a tax collector.
Be freer with your nod today.
The word ‘tarry’ has crossed my path on more than one occasion. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines tarry as, “to linger in expectation: wait; to abide or stay in or at a place.” I fear this word or mindset is something we have lost over the years. While going through boxes of old pictures I found a shoebox full of pictures from my backpacking trips. One particular picture is taken of a place called MacAfee’s Knob on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. It is arguably the most breathtaking vista I have had the privilege of experiencing.
While I was there soaking in the view and enjoying my lunch a guy came bursting out of the trees, whipped out his disposable camera, snapped a quick picture, then raced down the trail. I later found out from other thru hikers he was putting 30-35 mile days in an effort to hike the trail as fast as he could. Tragic. He may complete the trail, I don’t know if he did or not, in a blazing time but he is missing the opportunity to soak in the beauty of where he is hiking. He is not taking the time to tarry.
This is an unfortunate habit that has pervaded all of life. I think particularly of our Christian life. Too often we are too busy or have too much on our plate to take time to tarry, to abide in one place and sit at the feet of our Lord. I think more specifically reading His word. We open up our bible, power through a chapter or two maybe even three, then get on with our day. Or perhaps we have determined to read the bible in a year. There is nothing wrong with that but if we do not take the time to tarry, to stay in one place and allow the Spirit to speak to us through a particular passage, then we miss an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of what the Lord wants to say to us through His word.
I often wondered if that hiker remembers anything from his trip. In your day to day living stop and see the Lord in it. Do not be in such a rush you fail to miss His presence. In your reading did you hear God speak? Did you give Him opportunity? While I do not discourage reading through the bible in a year I want to encourage you to take time to tarry. I want you to read a particular chapter or passage for a few days, a week, or whatever you feel prompted, and allow the Spirit to reveal to you the beauty of what that passage is saying. Today, take time to tarry.
Be Blessed and Be a Blessing
During my aircraft maintenance days we were required to fill out these yellow time cards that not only tracked our clock in and out time it also tracked what we were working on. At some point we converted to electronic tracking. Yet for some reason we still had to fill out those yellow cards. Didn’t make sense to me. I wasn’t convinced they even looked at them. Considering several hundred mechanics just at our location filling them out three times a day that added up to a lot of cards. So, in an act of defiance, curiosity, rather than putting my work orders I the appropriate blocks I would write “I Love Seth.”
Now at the time Seth was the CEO of the company. Months went by. Countless “I love Seths” were written. Nothing! This was proving me right. Until one day I was paged to the manager’s office. When I walked in my union rep was in there with him. On his desk was a stack of yellow time cards. I was informed in rather blunt form that there would be no more affections for our CEO shared on company documents. He made it clear I was fortunate I expressed my love for him and nothing derogatory. Otherwise I would have left that office with far more than the warning I was given. Turns out they do in fact pay attention to those things.
Sometimes our prayer life seems much like those yellow time cards. Day after day we pray to God. Day after day it seems like they drift off without ever being acknowledged. In Acts 10 we’re introduced to a man named Cornelius. We are told he is a God-fearing man who helped the poor and prayed regularly. I wonder if he thought he was being heard. One afternoon he gets word from an angel. “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God” (Acts 10:4).
Yes He does hear!
Sometimes it seems like the Lord doesn’t hear our cries. May I encourage you that He does. Keep persisting in prayer. Keep looking up.