Daily Devotions this week are being provided by our St. John’s Certified Lay Ministers. Today’s devotion is from Michael Furnish.
In the Gospel of Luke (ch. 12), Jesus tells of a rich man who harvests a bumper crop and believes his problems will be solved by building bigger barns, so he will be able to have an easy life. He is rich toward himself instead of toward God. He is a fool, for he perishes that very night.
In everyday life, we have many priorities to juggle. There are tasks related to keeping our families going: school, work, laundry, and the list goes on. Beyond this we must choose amongst social groups, church activities, hobbies, study time, and other activities. Where do we normally invest our time? Our money? Our energy?
About two weeks ago, many things changed with the arrival of a new virus. Physical proximity to others became a problem. Most of the things we do with other people were cancelled. How long this will go on is unknown. We have to make sure our pantries and medicine cabinets are more intentionally stocked because it's less certain than in the past we'll always be able to go grab what we need at the store. We don't see people nearly as much - this is a major change.
So here we are. How can we best use our time? I can't help but think we have some unusual opportunities now. These include opportunities to make a difference for others. We can check up on our neighbors, especially ones who can't get out as easily as we can. The phone can be extremely useful for keeping in touch, as can many technological extensions of it like Skype, Facebook - it's a long list. But it takes an intentional effort to reach out - we don't automatically see our friends like we would normally. Good news: It's just as easy to reach across the country as across the street. Linn's and my fathers are both in assisted living settings now (got in under the wire for her dad's case), and while we can't visit them, we try to keep in touch.
These also include opportunities to improve our own focus on life, as Joe discussed yesterday.
If not now, will there really be a better time later?
How does this tie back to our priorities? Pretend it's 2021 now, and think back to the spring of 2020. What are we happy that we did? What do we wish we had done differently? Did we take the opportunity to cheer some people up or share our treasure? Did we get to know ourselves and our Lord better?
Richard Rohr, in his book "The Naked Now," discusses the name the Jews gave our God. This name for God (Yahweh) is “breathed.” With each breath we silently say God's name. It is our first and last word, and we say God's name all of our life long.
-- Michael Furnish