“When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm. Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?” What a gift to work with people and companies who go about their work with alacrity.  If you ...


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day 2950: Alacrity

“When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm. Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?”

What a gift to work with people and companies who go about their work with alacrity.  If you don’t know the word, it means, “brisk and cheerful readiness”.  And yes, I want to be a person known for my own alacrity.  But, it’s not really that easy is it? Even readiness, right now, is hard to claim as we still aren’t sure what to be ready for next.  And then to be brisk about it?  And cheerful?  Without a doubt, it is hard to have alacrity, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to be so, for soon it might be that those with alacrity are the ones who are on the forefront of the opportunities soon to arise.

Jesus seems so serious in how the scriptures capture Him.  And without a doubt, He was.  But, I often try and read His words to hear something else in His tone.  And when I do so, sometimes, I smile.  Jesus attracted thousands, multitudes, of people when He spoke.  I guess we can imagine that He stood for hours being only serious and that caught the rapt attention of people who were sitting for the same hours outside on a hillside with no chairs or food.  Maybe only the Son of God could do that.  But is it possible that Jesus also had a sense of alacrity to Him?  As He would get up early daily, rustle up the Disciples (who seemed to love to sleep), I think on some days He might have gotten them going with the promise that it was going to be a great day and a cheerful encouragement!  I can even read the verse in Luke to be that after the Disciples woke Him with their cries of help that after a sharp rebuke to the winds and waves, He might have had a smile on His face towards them as he asked the question, “Where is your faith?”.  Now, I could have it all wrong too and that Jesus was all seriousness, all the time.  But if I am created in the image of The Father, then my appreciation for humor and alacrity had to come from someplace.  Let’s put it this way.  There are many ways for us to “be” so that we show the love of God to others.  Might not a little brisk and cheerful readiness towards others help today?

Reference:  Luke 8: 24-25 (New Living Translation)

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day 2949: “I Just Go Over My Lines”

“His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him.”

I was watching online a reading of a play.  At one point the Director asks the actor (the play is about a play) how he interprets one of his lines in the context of the ending of the show.  The actor responds, “I don’t read the whole play, I just go over my lines”.  I laughed out loud because that is a major problem in our work and our lives.  We only go over and focus on our own lines, not taking the time to look at the bigger picture or where the narrative is trying to go.  We all know those people and we tag them as “only out for themselves”, “having their own agenda”, “unwilling to see the bigger picture if they have to make an effort”.  Our own lines are important, but like the theater if a line is delivered, no mater how well, out of context it’s meaning can be lost, or worse yet, misconstrued.

I was reflecting coming out Easter weekend how the Disciples all of a sudden woke up to who Jesus really was after He had been taken from them.  Before the crucifixion Jesus was telling them daily about who He was but they were so caught up in what they knew and what they should do that they kept missing it. It was like they were focusing on their own lines and oblivious of the bigger picture, the context and the narrative.  Now, we can cut them a bit of slack as even today the Parables take some work to get to the foundational meanings, but the point is that Jesus wants us to both know our own lines but also be sure that we are fitting them into His story for the world.

Reference:  John 12:16 (New Living Translation)

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day 2948: Worked To Death – Annual Post Revised

It’s a common phrase to hear someone say, “I am working myself to death”. There was a time that in the United States, and still in other places around the world, that the phrase could be more of a statement of fact versus just a phrase to exaggerate how hard one is working in their job. Today, there are still people who work too much and too hard to the point of physical distress and danger, but for the most part we don’t put our lives at risk or die because of our physical or mental exertion at work. Before I go further, I do give great admiration to those who go beyond work to serve us and our country for security, protection, rescue and war and in this time particular those who have been on the frontline of the Covid-19 crisis as healthcare workers, grocery and food workers and delivery people. They do in fact put their lives on the line each day and to them we should each be extraordinarily grateful.

Considered in totality, for most of us to make the statement that we are being “worked to death”, is vastly overstated. It is a mindset and an attitude that can come across as very self-centered and overly emotionally based. It can also drag other people down around us. When we feel this way and before we express this emotion we should stop and remember that no matter how bad we have it that there was One who went before us who really did work Himself to His death. He knew that this was His purpose and He did it for us. Before Easter, let’s read together Phil Keaggy’s lyrics from the song “Maker of the Universe” and reflect on the commitment and love that was given for us. Think about what it truly means for one who was so precious to have truly worked Himself to death.

“The Maker of the universe,
As Man for man was made a curse.
The claims of Law which He had made,
Unto the uttermost He paid.
His holy fingers made the bough,
Which grew the thorns that crowned His brow.
The nails that pierced His hands were mined
In secret places He designed.

He made the forest whence there sprung
The tree on which His body hung.
He died upon a cross of wood,
Yet made the hill on which it stood.
The sky that darkened o’er His head,
By Him above the earth was spread.
The sun that hid from Him it’s face
By His decree was poised in space.

The spear which spilled His precious blood
Was tempered in the fires of God.
The grave in which His form was laid
Was hewn in rocks His hands had made.
The throne on which He now appears
Was His for everlasting years.
But a new glory crowns His brow
And every knee to Him shall bow.”

May we each take time today on this Good Friday to remember and reflect on Jesus and then have a blessed celebration on Easter for the One who died and then rose!

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day 2947: Reentry Part 4: Distractions

“I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible”

When the pandemic started, we worried about the distractions while working from home.  Soon, we learned that those distractions could be managed and the trade off of being home for breakfast, lunch and dinner became the norm and it was good.  We also figured out how to share the internet and quiet spaces for Zoom calls.  But, will we relearn what it means to be sitting in a cubicle or office, only to have others having conversations outside of our work area and popping their heads in to just “catch up”? Sure, we will relearn, but now that we have experienced how it might be different, how easily can we, or should we expect ourselves and others to re-assimilate to the office?

Paul tells the Corinthians to avoid distractions as much as possible.  He was talking about those things that distract us from our ability to serve God.  We know what those are.  The question for today, is what are we doing to unlearn those things so that we have our focus, without distraction, in the right place?

Reference:  1 Corinthians 7:35 (New Living Translation)

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day 2946: Reentry Part 3: Step By Step

“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”

Great distance runner and now writer/coach Amby Burfoot wrote of a runner who spent 15 months training in Ethiopia.  The motto the runner learned was “Enkulal kes ba kes be egirua tehedalech”, which means “Step by step an egg learns to walk.” How true!  As we consider our process or reentry, and we should think of it as a process, there will be many steps to go from what we have been used to, to what we will be asked to do next.  It will be the small steps that matter as much as the larger ones.  We had dinner outdoors with friends on Saturday night.  They were a half hour late. Their reason was that they’d forgotten how long it took to get really ready to go out.  Small things.  Small steps we will relearn, but it will necessitate patience on our part.

God wants to lead us and for us to follow Him, but He has never laid out a grandiose plan for anyone and then delivered it to them to pursue.  He provides vision (such as there was a promised land and there is a Heaven) but He expects us to follow Him daily, one step at a time.  There is comfort in that.  Imagine if we knew how our lives were to unfold and then the pressure of having to never make a misstep.  The idea of following one step at a time is a few missteps won’t throw us totally off of course but instead allow for us to gently correct back into His path.  That’s right, step by step.

Reference: Psalm 119:105 (New Living Translation)

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