Points To Ponder/Rise And Really Shine
by Pastor Dennis Whitmore
In the devotional, Our Daily Bread, Martin De Haan writes:
“The world may be likened to a stage on which the drama of eternity is being unfolded. We are the actors. The sunrises and falls like a great curtain day after day, and every time we ‘repeat our lines’ we make a decision. We either respond to the cues of our daily circumstances just to get our part over with, or we look at our role in life as a wonderful opportunity to know and enjoy the goodness and wisdom of the great Director.” (See Ecclesiastes 5:18-20; 12:13-14)
The sun rises and sets on the good and the wicked, the poor and the rich, and the healthy and the broken, alike. But how do you see it? What do you decide to perceive as vital or as just incidental? What will you do with it? What is the eternal value of your temporal choices and activities?
In a recent study of the Old Testament book of Malachi I found some fresh insight we could all use as we face life. During Malachi’s time, the Jewish people were ruled by a foreign power. From day to day, their lives were difficult and it did not seem like God was going to intercede to change that. So they became cynical in attitude and lax in practice. “Where is this God of justice?” they said. (Mal 2:17)
In chapter three, they complained that serving God and carrying out His requirements was futile. They looked around at their Pagan neighbors and those who scoffed at the Lord, and they saw the wicked prospering. So they concluded from what they were perceiving every day that the arrogant are blessed, “the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape.” (Mal 3:15)
Certainly that is a perspective we can take, even today. When we decide to “take our cues” from the circumstances around us, we miss out on the opportunities that are hidden in the midst of the mess. This negative group in Malachi were saying “harsh things against Me”, God says. The result was misery. As the saying goes, you get what you expect; and if you do not expect much, you won’t get much.
But in the midst of those dire circumstances and the murmurings of the complainers, there was another group of people:
“Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard a scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored His name. ‘They will be mine,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘in the day when I make up my treasured possession.’” (Mal 3:16-17 NIV)
Certainly the circumstances were bleak for all of God’s people. They were a minority people within a small province of a foreign empire. Some chose to view God, and their role as His people, through their circumstances. Others however, chose to view their circumstances through God.
Those who feared the Lord stuck together, they “talked with each other” (v.16) and stayed in fellowship! They trusted God and strengthened each other in that trust. When the sun rose on their days, they faced what was ahead of them with the Lord. It is a decision which you and I make every day in every circumstance.
Will I respond to the matter as it comes, as I’m perceiving it? Or will I lean into my relationship with the Lord and strive to view it through His eyes?
As Martin De Haan said, the drama of eternity is being unfolded day by day like a long running play. The world is the stage, the curtain rises and sets daily with the sun. You have a role in that play.
It is sad and wasteful to simply put in your time and tolerate your daily existence. What would God have you do if He really had control of your life? Why not find out right now?
Be consciously aware of the decision you have made or are making TODAY about today. Are you choosing to see God through your circumstances, or are you choosing to see your circumstances through God? If you seriously ponder what these two questions are asking of you, you will know the difference - and you will know your decision. The sun is up...You are on!
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Whitmore serves God at the First United Methodist Church in Laurel, MD.