Today is Sunday, June 3, 2018. Day 21,997.
Today is “The Feast of Corpus Christi.” Not the city in Texas. But the “body and blood of Christ.”
“The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not.” ~ Eric Hoffer, 1902-1983, The Quotations Page
The word for today is doss (not an operating system, that was DOS), a (chiefly British) verb which means, “to sleep or lie down in any convenient place.”
We had an awesome time at the really hot church picnic, yesterday. Until, that is, I “tweaked” my back playing a yard game that our pastor had brought. He brought this game called Kubb. His set didn’t look as fancy as the set in the Amazon link, but I think I want that one. It’s a game of Viking origin, which was originally (at least I’m told) played with skulls and femurs, presumably of defeated enemies. We played with wooden blocks and sticks. It was great fun. Up until the point that my back went *erk* and I had to stop. There was also some really good barbecue and stuff.
As for my back, I was in some pretty excruciating pain, last night. The pain radiated all the way from lower back to my hip, and down the outside of my right leg. If I had to lift my right leg to do anything, it was worse. I was able to find a position, though, lying in bed, which did not hurt, so this is nowhere near as bad as the last time my back “went out.” I took some of my wife’s pain pills during the night, to help me sleep, and am better this morning. It still hurts when I walk or stand for very long, so I will not be going to church, this morning. I’m relatively comfortable sitting in my study chair, as long as I don’t slouch, and as soon as I get done with this, I will probably lie back down in bed and watch TV or something. Or maybe fall back asleep.
I’m hoping I will be able to go to work tomorrow.
The Red Sox finally beat the Astros, last night, by a score of 5-4, as David Price got his sixth win. This was also their 40th win, making them the first team to reach that number. Nevertheless, they are still a half game behind the Yankees.
The Rangers also won, beating the Angels by a score of 3-2. Their record is 25-36, and since the Sox beat the ‘stros, they are back to 12.5 games out in the AL West. Both teams continue their series today.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted
May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works,
who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke!
I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD.
Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more! Bless the LORD, O my soul! Praise the LORD!
I echo the words of the Psalmist in verse 33. “I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.” I fully intend for this to be true in my life, no matter what. In fact, I long for the day when I will be singing those praises, face to face with my Savior!
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.
The basis for this is today’s reading in Daily Guideposts 2018. Gail Thorell Schilling reminds us that it is the plain flowers, in general, that have the most luxurious fragrances. All flowers must attract pollinating insects, but some attract them with vibrant colors, while the more plain flowers have the more attractive fragrances.
Take that truth and apply it to Christians in service. There are some Christians who have more visible gifts; they preach or sing or play instruments, always being right up there in front of everyone. But there are many whose gifts are not so visible. When I was growing up in a local church, there were always lunches and dinners happening at the church. Someone had to put those together. Even when the bulk of the food was “pot luck,” someone had to organize, set up, clean up, and so on. These people are largely behind the scenes. Even more behind the scenes are the ones who quietly and consistently pray for needs in the kingdom of God.
We all have different gifts. Ever since I was a youth, I have been “up front.” I sang in the choir as soon as they would let me. Then I became a “music minister,” leading the songs, directing the choir, organizing seasonal cantatas, and so on. Later, that evolved to “worship leader.” While I no longer “lead worship,” I still play, and sometimes sing, in the worship band at church.
In recent years, however, God led me into a prayer ministry. There is a group of us at our church who, behind the scenes, constantly pray about needs in the church. At the beginning of every worship gathering, a phone number is flashed on the screen. That is a “Google Voice” number that goes directly to a text app on my phone. People can text prayer requests to us, using that number. They don’t know who gets the text. They don’t know who is praying. But they know who hears those prayers!
Jesus said, in Matthew 6, “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (5-6)
I believe that the state of the heart and motivation plays more into this than location. Whatever our gifts, if we are doing them to be noticed, to get recognition, then that noticing, that recognition, are our reward. But if our heart is in a state of service . . . if I am playing and singing, not to be noticed or to get applause, but to direct that noticing and that applause to the One who gave me those gifts and talents, then he will reward me sufficiently. For the most part, just getting to be a part of his kingdom is reward enough; getting to walk in his presence every day is reward enough.
Knowing that he is always with me is reward enough.
Father, I will always and forever be grateful for the gifts that you have given me. I confess that I do not always use them properly. May I always, though, be satisfied with just being in your presence. When I play and sing on Sunday mornings, may my satisfaction come from knowing that I am worshiping you, and, perhaps, helping someone else do the same. It is you who needs to be famous, not me.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Grace and peace, friends.