Bread – Demands

March 17, 2014


Readings for Monday, March 17, 2014, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Gen. 41:46-57; 1 Cor. 4:8-21; Mark 3:7-19a; Psalms 56,57,58,64,65

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What does God demand of us? Because this is Lent and a time for sober reflection on who we are and who God is, this question – what does God demand of us – is an important one.

I got an object lesson in this today while preparing this Bread.

If you will look at the listed reading from the Epistles today, you will see it says “1 Cor. 4:8-21,” which means the book of First Corinthians, Chapter 4, Verses 8 through 21. However, when I wrote it down at first, I wrote down “1 Cor. 4,8-21,” which means the book of First Corinthians, Chapters 4, 8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,and 21.” The first version (and the correct one) requires about a minute or so to read (a lot more to understand) and the second version would require at least a half an hour to read if not more.

So, because of how I wrote it down originally, when I went to look at it again to find it in the Bible, I did a double take and said to myself, “Surely this is a mistake because the reading cannot be that long.”

Think about the idiocy of that reaction by me, a declared Christian. God demands my obedience and if He wants me to read 15 chapters of His Word at a single sitting, why should I complain? Why should my immediate reaction be, “This must be a mistake because the reading cannot be that long?” Why couldn’t God require me to read His entire Word in one sitting? Why shouldn’t He?”

The fact is that God demands our obedience and our reaction is not, “Lord, yes,” but, “Yes, I will obey if it suits my temperament, schedule, agenda, timetable, attitude, to-do list, and what side of the bed I woke up on.”

God demands our obedience, and we say “maybe.”

Yes, I had an object lesson today about me and God. Do I really love Him so much that I will obey His will in what I do today, regardless of how much time it takes, regardless of how it makes me look to others, regardless of the consequences to me?

I think the answer to that question is, today, “No, I don’t love Him that much.” I say that because, if I really did, I would have looked at the instruction to read 15 chapters as an opportunity to engage with my Lord, and not a mistake to correct. I only had so much time and God’s demands did not fit within that allocation, so guess what happened? I did not bend the kneed and say “yes,” I went back to God and said to Him, “Surely you did not mean ….”

So, I failed the test.

But He did not.

Do I believe I am loved any less by God or saved any less by my selfish response to His demands? No. However, do I believe that I am diminished because I blew an opportunity to respond in gratitude, faith, and joy to my Lord? Absolutely yes. Although I gained some time to do my worldly affairs, I lost some time to be in communion with the Creator of the Universe.

How stupid is that! And yet we do it all the time.

The next time we are ready to say “no” or “maybe” to God’s demands on us, maybe we should ask the question, “What are we giving up if we don’t say ‘yes’?”

Lent is an opportunity for us to learn that, when we give up ourselves to obey the Lord’s commands, we gain much more than we give up. So let us not do to Lent what I did to 1 Corinthians today. If we are commanded to do something in Lent by God, then let’s quickly say “Yes, Sir.” And I have no doubt that the blessings we will reap will surprise us.

When God says “read 15 chapters of My Word,” it is a call to fellowship with Him. Will we answer it?

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© 2014 GBF

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