This week's 'thought' comes to you from missionary and author Sarah Young. Sarah, who studied under Francis and Edith Schaeffer in the L'Abri community in Switzerland back in the late 1970's, along with her husband Steve (a third generation missionary to Japan), spent 8 years planting churches in Japan, as well as planting the first-ever Japanese church in Melbourne, Australia. They are currently ministering to Japanese people living in Perth, Australia.
Sarah's devotional book, "Jesus Calling," was birthed as a result of many things -- reading Andrew Murray's book, "The Secret of the Abiding Presence", a desire to experience a greater sense of God's presence, and struggles which included four surgeries for melanoma cancer while ministering in Australia.
And, yes, as one who preaches I know it is always dangerous (presumptuous?) to try and put words in Jesus' mouth. But she has done a admirable job. I offer you two of her selections. Enjoy.
"Be still in My presence, even though countless tasks clamor for your attention. Nothing is as important as spending time with Me. While you wait in My Presence, I do My best work within you: transforming you by the renewing of your mind.
If you skimp on this time with Me, you may plunge headlong into the wrong activities, missing the richness of what I have planned for you.
And do not seek me primarily for what I can give you. Remember that I, the Giver, am infinitely greater than any gift I might impart to you. Though I delight in blessing My children, I am deeply grieved when My blessings become idols in their hearts. Anything can be an idol if it distracts you from Me as your First Love.
When I am the ultimate Desire of your heart, you are safe from the danger of idolatry. As you wait in My Presence, enjoy the greatest gift of all: Christ in you, the hope of glory!"
(Romans 12:2 / Revelation 2:4 / Colossians 1:27)
"I am calling you to a life of constant communion with Me. Basic training includes learning to live above your circumstances, even while interacting on that cluttered plane of life. You yearn for a simplified lifestyle, so that your communication with Me can be uninterrupted. But I challenge you to relinquish the fantasy of an uncluttered world. Accept each day just as it comes, and find Me in the midst of it all.
Talk with me about every aspect of your day, including your feelings. Remember that your ultimate goal is not to control or fix everything around you; it is to keep communing with Me.
A successful day is one in which you have stayed in touch with Me, even if many things remain undone at the end of the day. Do not let you to-do list (written or mental) become an idol directing your life. Instead, ask My Spirit to guide you moment by moment. He will keep you close to Me."
(I Thessalonians 5:17 / Proverbs 3:6)
I do appreciate how she warns us against two of the grave dangers in western society: The danger of idolizing God's gifts more than God Himself, and the danger of thinking, or being convinced, that God is more pleased with us the more busy we are or the more we achieve (even if the busyness that keeps us in constant motion has nothing to do with anything of eternal significance).
In a society where people find meaning in life simply by being busy, or gain their sense of worth by how much they produce, it can be easy to fall into the trap (the idolatry) of actually believing that our acceptance with God hinges on what we do rather than what Christ did for us.
The words of Isaiah 30:15, written to a people who were scurrying around doing everything they could to save themselves, are appropriate here: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength." And Sarah's favorite verse (Psalm 46:10) also applies: "Be still and know that I am God..."
So I pray for blessings on your day. Yet while you go through it, set aside a few moments to obey God: rest, be quiet, still yourself, and spend some time doing "nothing" but communing with Him and getting to know Him better. For Sarah is right, "A successful day is one in which you have stayed in touch with [Him], even if many things remain undone at the end of the day."
In His Service, Pastor Jeff