Bread – Traffic

December 13, 2013


Readings for Friday, December 13, 2013, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Haggai 1:1-15; Rev. 2:18-29; Matt. 23:27-39; Psalms 31,35

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A week ago we had an ice storm which froze up everything, literally. For somewhere between two and four days, people were without power or their normal schedule was totally disrupted with various closures, traffic lane blockages, icy bridges, non-starting cars, frozen pipes, etc.

Then, once the weather began to moderate, the crowds hit the highways and everything came to a crowded, dirty, tiresome crawl. Traffic crawled and crawled and crawled. What would normally take ten minutes took an hour. And in the middle of the Christmas season, people’s moods (including mine) went from somewhat happy to somewhat upset to aggravated to downright aggravated to angry. Such is the nature of traffic. It opposes our objectives and our timetables, and we don’t get our way, we become more insistent on having it our way, even though the net effect is to increase the traffic and the opposition.

God has something to say about this. In our reading from Haggai today, He says: “Consider your ways. You have sown much, and have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes….You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away.” Haggai 1:5b-6, 9

Sounds like traffic to me. We beat ourselves to death getting from point A to point B, only to find out when we get there that the effort results in little return.

What is the solution to this? God through Haggai tells the people that, instead of building their own houses, what about building His house? In the context of Haggai, this message was addressed to rebuilding the Temple; in our context today, when God dwells within us, this message is addressed to taking the time to build our relationship with Him.

How much time is really spent by us in building our relationship with God? How much time or effort is spent daily in prayer … or worship … or even simple reading and meditation on God’s Word? I am not talking about when we are at church or some churchy function. I am really not even talking about when we may be preparing to lead or participate in some Bible study, or, for me, when I am writing Bread. What I am talking about is the time we spend deliberately building our relationship with God, talking to Him, walking with Him, listening to Him. How much per day? One minute, five minutes, ten minutes?

And yet, while we may only spend ten minutes a day building God’s house within us, we will spend three times that long (30 minutes) driving to the supermarket to get a loaf of bread or driving to the pizza parlor to pick up dinner.

Is there any wonder then why we feel our lives are being wasted in traffic? Haggai the prophet would say, “No, there is no wonder.” God asks the question why we are earning our wages and putting them in bags with holes when we can be (and should be) building our relationship with Him.

Imagine what would happen if we took the thirty minutes we would spend getting a loaf of bread and instead spent the same thirty minutes in communion with God. Do we really not think that God is sovereign over the traffic in our lives, so that if we spent more time with Him our ways would be smoother?

What would happen this Christmas season if, before we hit the road searching for that perfect gift, we spent five minutes at our kitchen table praising God for His blessings in our lives? What would happen? I think that, instead of us being one of those people who are sitting in traffic, tired and angry, frustrated and pained, a curse to ourselves and others, we would be driving with a smile on our face, knowing that God would deliver us to our destination in His time. I think that, with that smile and lightness of heart, we would then be a blessing to ourselves and to others.

And how would that change the world?

Well, it might mean that, when we say “Merry Christmas,” we really mean it.

Come, let us adore Him!

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©2013 GBF

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