Monday, October 01, 2007

Read Your Bible, Pray Every Day

Dear Son,

Quite a while ago I promised to give you a list of the ten most important things that you should do in your first year of freedom. What is important to do? What is important to know?

I have thought about that for a while and hardly know where to start. I have several unfinished postings that talk about different things, literature, music, justice. But yesterday during the church service that I was attending, I realized where I should begin. You will, perhaps find this to be a repeat of what you have heard over the years, what you have heard from your grandmother. It is, however, the number one thing I have to suggest of all the things I might say.

Let me start with the "New Testament reading of the day" from the 17th Sunday after Pentecost.

1Tim 6:6 (NRSV) Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment;

7 for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it;

8 but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.

9 But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

11 But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness.

12 Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

13 In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pon'tius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you

14 to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ,

15 which he will bring about at the right time--he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

16 It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

17 As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share,

19 thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.

It was that last phrase, "Life that really is life," that most captured my imagination. Where in our world do we find much active talk about finding life that really is life. Where do we hear teaching about the importance of doing good over the importance of getting rich. All about us from billboards to movies, from sitcoms to malls, from the internet to ball field scoreboards, hucksters are telling us what to buy, what material goods to want, what gusto to grab. Few are the messages that we receive that say, stop. Riches and goods are not the summum bonum.

However, you will find that as regular fare in the Bible. Your palette is whetted with words like, "Be ye kind, one to another."
"I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."

"Real joy."

"Let him who glories, glory in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practice kindness, justice, and righteousness in the earth."

So #1 on my list of ten things to do this year echos the old children's song, "Read your Bible, pray every day, and you'll grow, grow, grow." You won't grow into some predetermined ideal. You'll grow into you, and the you who is conscious of the life that can be lived above or beyond the surface of a society carefully constructed with Madison Avenue paper mache and glitter. You won't find the answers to every question that will arise in the course of living, but you will find direction and hope and good.

Invest in this discipline.

MOM aka brd


artmenow said...

nice to read this!

Ceekay said...

This is exactly what I was after...thank you God for you know what's on the mind even before my prayers go up to you.

I enjoyed this blog.