Sunday, February 08, 2009

Our Plans for the Day

Today’s Reading: John 19:31 (NIV)

31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.

Deuteronomy 21:22-23 (NIV)

If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree, 23 you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse. You must not desecrate the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.

Good morning!

“Hurry up and die! We’ve got more important things to do.” I can hear their words rip through the winds of time. Jewish law strictly prohibits leaving the body of the condemned exposed overnight or doing any work after sundown on the Sabbath. Religious leaders were anxious for Jesus to die so they could take care of business before they ate the Passover meal with their families and friends. It seems the people were far more concerned about following the letter of the law than living with the guilt of murdering an innocent man.

Have you ever placed your personal plans ahead of God?

The Christmas holidays were exhausting when we lived seven hundred fifty miles from home. We had two families to visit in just a few short days. We would drive twelve hours straight just to get back home in time for Christmas Eve services, and then try to split our time equally between Jeff’s parents and my parents. Everyone wanted to see the children. But I think they would have preferred seeing happy kids as opposed to cranky ones. Our children were tired when we arrived and they just wanted to run and play and squeal a lot, after having been belted in a car seat for hours on end. If the weather was bad and we had to slow down on the highway, it might take even longer to reach our final destination. I found it very hard to focus on worship at Christmas Eve services after arm wrestling two wee ones in the car, not to mention my own fatigue and stress level. To stop my mind from spinning in a thousand different directions, thinking of all that had to be done and the people we needed to see and things we needed to do before we turned around and drove back home to Texas, was like living a nightmare that would not end. Are we having fun yet? Often, we would spent a good portion of our Christmas day drying tiny tears and trying to take cat naps in between visits to grandparents, aunts and uncles. Time spent in sweet communion with the Lord was lost in the utter chaos of trying to complete our time-honored family tradition. Whatever was I thinking?

It’s little comfort, but obviously, I was not alone in this. Having the Martha mentality is not a great way to grow in grace. I found it hard to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to His Word when there was so much time spent in time-consuming preparation. I missed seeing the Master because I was too caught up in the moment. Can you imagine the irony on the day of Preparation, as Christ hung, dying on the cross, and the people were so busy trying to meet their obligations that they missed seeing their Savior?

Father, forgive us for being so busy that we forget what is most important in life. Help us stop what we doing and make you our first priority. This is the day that the Lord has made. It is not your day or my day – it is His Day. How will you choose to spend it?

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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