God’s Work, God’s Way

Day 132

1 Samuel 12:1‐13:22; John 7:1‐29; Psalm 108:1‐13; Proverbs 15:4

God’s Work, God’s Way

We have become accustomed to the notion that “there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” I have learned, however, that if you plan on using a new cat-skinning technique, you’d better be very clear what you are actually trying to accomplish. That’s where Saul messed up. I don’t think this is a lesson about the priesthood. It is a lesson about doing God’s work, God’s way.

It seems that Saul thought, “I need to go to war to push the Philistines back and my soldiers are getting restless. If I’m going to win the war we need the appropriate sacrifices, and fast. Samuel is not here. Plus, maybe the people will be more committed to me if they see me as priest as well as king.” But he missed the point.

Saul thought it was about the politics of kingship and the rituals of war. Not so in God’s eyes. For God, the purpose (as it ALWAYS is) was to learn obedience and patience, and to trust the outcome to God. In that lesson, Saul failed utterly.

In whatever task God lays before us, to sweep the floor, be a parent, serve as a lay reader, provide pastoral care, or something else, the first priority is always to serve according in God ways. That does not mean that we will never have new ways to go at these ministries, but it does mean that our first priority is always obedience, not our own agenda.

The Rev. Eric Turner
St. John’s
Melbourne, FL

Rejecting God’s Provision

Day 131

1 Samuel 10:1‐11:15; John 6:43‐71; Psalm 107:1‐43; Proverbs 15:1‐3

Rejecting God’s Provision

But now you have rejected your God, who saves you out of all your disasters and calamities. And you have said, “No, appoint a king over us.” – 1 Samuel 10:19

I don’t know about you but when I read those words, I hurt for the people of Israel because they do not know what they are asking. I also hurt for the United States of America, who seems of late to be uttering those very words to the God of the Universe. It seems that too often God has become the proverbial party piñata. The piñata serves no purpose until party time when kids need one more thing to do, so we take a stick and hit it until candy comes pouring out. Likewise, we go to God when we need blessings to come pouring out and when they come we rejoice, but an hour later we have forgotten from whom the blessings flowed. We put Him aside until another tragedy occurs and then we ask, “Where is God in all of this?”

Don’t we remember? He is right where we have placed Him—outside of our schools, outside of our courtrooms, outside of our homes, and even outside of our hearts. There is a great lesson to be learned in reading the story of Saul and his kingship. God granted the people’s request for a king, although they had rejected Him, yet the king could not fill the void where ultimately God was to fit. He so wants to be our Lord and our God but we would rather place our desire for money, nice cars, bigger houses, and a plethora of other things on the throne of our heart…hoping and even praying that God would bless them for our sake.

The real question for you today is, Who resides as King in your life?  If you answer Yahweh-GOD, then I commend you but ask the next important question. Do you LIVE as though He is your King?

Prayer: Lord, I pray that I would not trade desires of the world for the things that you desire of us. I pray you keep me ever mindful of the times I reject you as King and bring me back to you. “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart Lord, take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.” AMEN.

The Rev. Wes Sharp
Holy Cross Episcopal Church
Trussville, AL

Because of the Bread

Day 130

1 Samuel 8:1-9:27; John 6:22-42; Psalm 106:32-48; Proverbs 14:34-35

Because of the Bread

Earlier in John 6, we have this Gospel’s record of Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Although Jesus had managed to get away from the excited crowd who wanted to make Him king, in today’s Gospel lesson, that same crowd followed Him to Capernaum. Jesus picked up on their motive for hunting Him down. It wasn’t because they really understood the sign of the great miracle they had just witnessed, it was because of the bread.

In the conversation that followed, Jesus tried to help the people understand the spiritual significance of “living bread,” but they were still thinking about free bread for food. Furthermore, they couldn’t receive Jesus’ message that He is the bread of eternal life.  “How can (this man) now say, ‘I have come from heaven’?” they complain. “We know who he is: he’s Joseph’s son…”  Blinded by their focus on the material world and the physical appearance and family connections of Jesus, they totally forfeit their opportunity to receive the gift of eternal life.

Are we so different? We can get so caught up with our worldly endeavors that we, too, become spiritually blind. May God help us to recognize Jesus as the true gift of “living bread” to nourish our inner life and prepare us for our eternity with Him.

Deacon Janice Miller
St. Peter’s Church
Lake Mary, FL