Bread – Devotion

May 13, 2011


Readings for Friday, May 13, designated by the Book of Common Prayer: Dan. 6:1-15; 2 John 1-13; Luke 5:12-26; Psalm 105

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There are not many words for strong love, persisting love, in our language today. Perhaps one good word is “devotion.” We normally don’t use this word in connection with “love,” When I looked up the word “devote,” Webster’s Dictionary tells me that it means “set apart for special use or purpose” or “to give up oneself to some purpose, activity, or person.” Only in the fifth definition of “devotion” to we get something close to the word “love” – “loyalty or deep affection.”

And yet we understand, I think, that devotion is a demonstration of true abiding love. What or who we love, we devote time, energy, and attention to. We engage fully in those areas of life we love. We give lip service to those persons who we don’t love so much. One of the reasons we may get critiqued by our spouses for not paying attention to them is this simple truth – when we are not paying attention to them we are not showing devotion to them. When we ignore them in favor of the sporting event, who or what are we showing love to?

How is your life being spent? Where is your time invested? Where is your money going? What or who are you paying attention to? The answers to those questions tells us who and what we love, who and what we are devoted to.

In Daniel today we have an object lesson in devotion, in strong and persisting love. Daniel is so diligent and honest in his work that he is not only in charge of a third of the empire, be the king is thinking of promoting him to the top spot, just under the king in power. One would think that this work would be all-consuming. However, we find out in today’s readings that Daniel prayed three times a day on his knees, “giving thanks to his God.” We call prayer sessions like this “devotions” for a reason. The consistency, the process, and the intensity all show a devotion, a strong and persisting love, toward God, toward the love of Daniel’s life. He worked hard but he loved God. This is why work yielded to prayer.

PDA – public displays of affection. The source of derision by our children and the demonstration in real life, in real time, of our devotion to our spouses, our children, and everyone else we love. Daniel so loved God that he had public displays of affection toward Him even when it was unpopular to do so, even when the king had ordered him not to on pain of the lion’s den. Daniel ignored the king, not because he had disrespect for the king, but because he had love for God. He demonstrated his love, his devotion, by engaging God in public, by showing PDA, by loving first and worrying about the consequences later, if at all.

Do we have that kind of devotion to God, that kind of love for God?

Daniel so loved God that he was willing to risk life, liberty, and property in devotion to Him.

Are we devoted to God; do we really love Him? Let’s test that by asking some hard questions. Are we willing to risk a few minutes every day to be with Him and to enjoy His company? If we say we are willing, do we? Are we willing to run the risk of public ridicule because we do things in public which show our devotion and love for God? If we say we are willing, do we? Are we willing to run the risk of paying the consequences by loving God more than man, more than our “friends,” more than life itself? If we say we are willing, do we?

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