A Life Free of Clutter

Grace for the moment max Lucado

Today’s reading is drawn fromLuke 12:34.

The most powerful life is the most simple life. The most powerful life is the life that knows where it’s going, that knows where the source of strength is, and the life that stays free of clutter and happenstance and hurriedness.

Being busy is not a sin. Jesus was busy. Paul was busy. Peter was busy. Nothing of significance is achieved without effort and hard work and weariness. Being busy, in and of itself, is not a sin. But being busy in an endless pursuit of things that leave us empty and hollow and broken inside—that cannot be pleasing to God.

One source of man’s weariness is the pursuit of things that can never satisfy; but which one of us has not been caught up in that pursuit at some time in our life? Our passions, possessions, and pride—these are all dead things. When we try to get life out of dead things, the result is only weariness and dissatisfaction.

from Walking with the Savior

FOR FATHERS

Don’t step right up

Today’s reading is drawn from Proverbs 22:1-6.

For the most part, my years of undergraduate education were truly enjoyable. I enjoyed the freedom and the autonomy. I loved the camaraderie of new friends.

The only truly significant frustration of college was trying to decide what I was going to be “when I grew up.” I had some classmates who, the day they hit the campus, knew beyond a shadow of a doubt. Jim Hall was going to be a doctor. Steve Oldham was going to be a coach. Herb Shaw was going to be a CPA. Dan Alley was going to eat pepperoni and extra-cheese pizza.

But I had no idea.

Suspecting this career ambivalence, my college professors were like carnival hawkers . . . “Step right up! . . . Be this. Be that.” Dr. Heath thought I should research ancient languages. Dr. Harrison thought I’d make a decent doctor. Dr. Wilson thought parish ministry would be perfect for me.

As a dad, you sometimes find yourself tempted to encourage your children to “step right up” — to sell them on your dreams for them. Sometimes they feel the pressure to become what you want them to become. Because you want the best for your kids, it’s tough to avoid this temptation, but it’s even tougher to grow up under it.

Today’s verse speaks directly to this problem. It’s one you should plant deeply into your conscious mind. . . .

Being an effective dad has nothing to do with creating a clone of yourself. This is not an exercise in aiming your child at your target. Being successful as a father means helping your children to go in the direction they should go. To follow their own calling. To listen to God’s voice in their own lives. To shape and encourage them to identify their own gifts and strengths, then to give them the courage to aggressively pursue those gifts.

Several years ago, I was having lunch with one of my closest friends. Often when we get together we joke and laugh, making a public nuisance of ourselves. But this time the conversation was gravely serious. At one point in the conversation my friend said something I’ll never forget: “I’m a grown man. I have two children, two cars, a career and a mortgage of my own. And I’ve just discovered that I have become exactly what my parents wanted me to become. I have no idea who I am.”

You are not selling anything to your kids. You’re not trying to get them to follow your agenda. Your job is to help them discover their God-given gifts and passions, and to encourage them to seek the Lord’s guidance. What you really want is for them to pursue their own dreams — then you do whatever you can to help them be successful.

Train your children in the way they should go. Someday they’ll thank you for this.

MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST

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The “Go” of Preparation

If you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.  Matthew 5:23-24

It is easy for us to imagine that we will suddenly come to a point in our lives where we are fully prepared, but preparation is not suddenly accomplished. In fact, it is a process that must be steadily maintained. It is dangerous to become settled and complacent in our present level of experience. The Christian life requires preparation and more preparation.

The sense of sacrifice in the Christian life is readily appealing to a new Christian. From a human standpoint, the one thing that attracts us to Jesus Christ is our sense of the heroic, and a close examination of us by our Lord’s words suddenly puts this tide of enthusiasm to the test. “…go your way. First be reconciled to your brother….” The “go” of preparation is to allow the Word of God to examine you closely. Your sense of heroic sacrifice is not good enough. The thing the Holy Spirit will detect in you is your nature that can never work in His service. And no one but God can detect that nature in you. Do you have anything to hide from God? If you do, then let God search you with His light. If there is sin in your life, don’t just admit it— confess it. Are you willing to obey your Lord and Master, whatever the humiliation to your right to yourself may be?

Never disregard a conviction that the Holy Spirit brings to you. If it is important enough for the Spirit of God to bring it to your mind, it is the very thing He is detecting in you. You were looking for some big thing to give up, while God is telling you of some tiny thing that must go. But behind that tiny thing lies the stronghold of obstinacy, and you say, “I will not give up my right to myself”— the very thing that God intends you to give up if you are to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. From My Utmost for His Highest Updated Edition

Bible in One Year: Song of Solomon 4-5; Galatians 3