A week or so ago I awoke feeling down. I was tired, a bit sore, and feeling sorry for myself. I turned on the television to watch some news and went from feeling sorry for myself to anger at the cruelty of the world. Two shootings that day made me realize the insignificant magnitude of my problems. It doesn’t mean my problems aren’t real but felling a bit down is dramatically different than the suffering of people being denied their rights, being shot at, or being persecuted. I realized that my perspective had become skewed simply because I was tired. I was neglecting to see all that God had (and is) provided for me.
I have been challenging my church to engage in a Summer of Transformation. We need to be intentional in our actions as Christians. We must seek out ways to grow spiritually so that we can be the best people we can be. Some of these growth opportunities are done in groups such as Bible studies, working in the Samaritan Garden, and engaging in evangelism. Evangelism may sound like something T.V. preachers do or the identity of a certain group of Christians but it is much simpler. Evangelism simply means spreading the God News of Jesus Christ. We spread the Good News that Jesus came to and for us mostly by the way we live. If we are going to identify as Christians it is imperative that we behave as Christians as best we can.
Another facet of intentionality in regards to our Christian walk is to take the time to pray. When we pray we should spend time listening and looking for the answers that God is providing. I believe that God answers our prayers, all of our prayers, without exception. When we do not feel that God is answering our prayers we are either not paying attention or the answer is no. We tend to forget that no is a perfectly reasonable and appropriate response for many of our concerns. God is the perfect parent and all parents need to say no probably more often than I do…
So we need to pay attention to what God is doing in our lives. I was neglecting to do that and began to feel down. I was missing the blessings that God pours into our lives. These blessings and even miracles are not necessarily huge as a matter of fact they are most often small and subtle. I was driving to a meeting when I started counting some of my blessings. I was driving which is an activity that I really enjoy. I was safe due to good roads and vigilant law enforcement. I was on my way to spend time with good friends where I knew laughter and support would follow. These blessings are obvious and easy to see but God didn’t leave it there. I noticed the clouds that early morning. The clouds were subtle combination of pinks and purples building to white peaks. This gift from God, the beauty in those clouds, is an example of the small blessings and miracles that we miss. We’ve become so accustomed to them that we don’t notice or we take them for granted.
We need to pay attention. I listed several blessings that God provides to us but the list is endless if we take the time to notice. Think of the people that God has placed in our lives. Some of those people perform tasks for us, make us laugh, or otherwise enrich us. Sharing the blessings we have been given with others is the best response that I can think of to thank God. We can and should be the blessings in other people’s lives.
This is this pastor’s opinion. I look forward to hearing yours.