“Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time…” The sin of “sloth” or laziness is not simply sitting on a couch in inactivity. Sloth implies that I am wasting time. Even though I might be very active, I may be active about things that really have no value. Am I living wisely, making the most of time? Am I investing my time in things of eternal value? God, help me to live wisely, discerning accurately what matters and what does not and the difference between the two. Amen.
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Jesus never doubts the potential of the harvest; his concern is whether there are workers. We learn quickly in ministry that we cannot harvest alone; the work is endless. Do I have eyes to see those who might join the work of the harvest? Do I pray for and encourage others in the work of the Kingdom? – Lord, send out laborers into your harvest and let us rejoice how you are using each one.
“I try to find common ground with everyone; doing everything I can to save some…to spread the Good News…” This verse has been used to justify many actions and strategies to be “relevant” to different audiences as we share the Gospel. Paul’s point here is really more about sacrificing my understandings and cultural biases in order to put the Gospel first. How might my cultural perspectives, political views, and nationalistic pride get in the way of the message of the Gospel I preach and witness to? Lord, give me a heart to reach across barriers to share your Good News!
“May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.” This Psalm that speaks of the restoration of Israel after the exile enlightens us with the reality that restoration, healing, and progress come at a cost and with a certain amount of faithfulness in waiting. Hope keeps us turning over soil, planting seeds, and looking for signs of growth along the way. Our praise and thanksgiving rise to God as we sow, even sowing with tears, because we hope for the day of full restoration with shouts of joy. Where are you planting seeds in the midst of tears and discouragement these days? What does it mean to hope in the Lord? “Lord, hear the prayer of every tear, move us toward the day of harvest.”
“Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.” “Restore” has to do with fixing something that has been broken, in this case, “us.” “Shine” has to do with a seeming lack of God’s presence in the midst of current circumstances. “Being saved” often involves both some restorative work in us and the obvious presence of God that makes such restoration possible. What seems broken in your life these days that needs restoring? In what areas of life do you need to see God’s presence and the difference He makes? Restore Lord, Shine Lord, that we may be saved.
“The heavens are telling the glory of God…their voice goes out through all the earth.” God speaks to us through all that He has made. Created things are not god, but they do give us clues to what the Creator is like just as the painting, song, poem and sculpture tell us something of the artist. When you stop to observe and notice what God has created, what do you hear of His voice? When have you stood still long enough to hear God’s voice through His creation? Lord Jesus, speak and help me to listen.
“After the death of Moses…the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’assistant…” The promises of God transcend my life and generation. In an individualistic culture and society we are tempted to look for how God’s promises relate and are “relevant” to our personal lives. God’s promises from the beginning have reached to all people on the earth, through all times. Why does this truth matter? Who assists in my life and ministry today, who are the ones the Lord may speak to about leading his work and ministry next? Lord, help me to trust your eternal promises and invest in the people of the next generation.
“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” How earnest is my “seek”? Does my soul thirst? Do I feel it in my body? Have I come to find there is no water except the Jesus, the Living Water? What do I thirst for more than anything in life? Quench the deepest thirst of my soul, O God. Lead me to refreshment from the deep wells found only in you.
“Keep me safe, my God for in you I take refuge.” I’ve been thinking about this simple prayer. Each day many pray for safety for self, family and friends; but it is vastly different from different lips. For some it is just nice words to say in the midst of a wealthy, well supplied life, for many others it is a deep cry for justice, for bread, for God’s intervention in spite of overwhelming odds. What does safety mean for you? Lord Jesus, as I pray for personal safety, let me actively work toward a safe world for all. Amen.