We have begun a new series at Church on ‘The River of Life’. A river starts with a trickle of water ….. which forms a pool ….. that becomes a stream ….. which turns into a mighty river ….. that flows into the sea! You might not think you have much to give ….. you may not feel very influential ….. but when we give our talents or resources to God ….. He can multiply and use them to bring life to many. Your ‘trickle’ can refresh ….. enliven ….. and empower others!
Have you ever had a fog surrounding your heart or mind? You can't see clearly, can't make good judgments, can't get a perspective, because there's a heavy fog clouding it. It can take many forms… but it always comes with quiet whispers in our mind that try to make us lose our way.
Recently I've had a fog set in… it came suddenly, quietly and unexpectedly, as fogs often do. It was called “stuff”. Now, I'm not a light-packer (despite my mother's best attempts to teach me how to pack-light on our holidays!), but in general I don't buy a lot of things. But recently, I've had this increasing desire towards materialism and, well, just buying things! Nothing too crazy expensive, just a new magazine from the supermarket here, another shirt from the thrift store there, more toys for the kids, another cute mug for the kitchen… and then I realised that slowly I was getting in a habit of thinking about wanting more, bigger, better… in my mind was the quiet but persistent whispering thought, “if you had more, you would be happier”. Then, like a fresh breeze, this verse helped to blow the fog away:
Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Our preoccupation with accumulating things in this world can cloud our perspective on what really matters, and what we really need. Jesus didn't tell us to ignore our physical needs on this earth (Matthew 6:30-32), but comforted us that our Heavenly Father would provide all our needs as we continued to focus on and depend on Him: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”, Jesus said (Matt. 6:33). When we leave this world, we can take nothing with us except what we have done with our time and resources on this earth (2 Cor. 5:10). It's a challenge to keep this fog from setting in in our consumerist, materialistic world, but He is faithful to bring His truths to our mind when we need them to blow the fog away!
What is clouding your mind today?
Do you ever wish you could put up a sign like this? About this time of year we can feel tired and depleted. The demands made of us physically ….. mentally ….. and emotionally can seem too much ….. and we just want to shut the door on the world and have a break! Sometimes a short break is enough ….. but renewal requires a lot more. This garden will not only be allowed to rest. It will no doubt be dug up ….. and nutrients will be added to the soil. It may even be redesigned! Sometimes ….. unwelcome change is forced upon us. It doesn’t feel good at the time ….. but the designer knows what he is doing! He sees a better layout ….. and a healthier environment. As it says in the small print ‘Sorry for the inconvenience!’