This past Sunday Jennifer and I took a weekend to ourselves. One of the things we learned at our past pastoral staff positions is that we need to take time for ourselves on occasion. This particular weekend we chose to participate in triathlons at Cedar Hill State Park. My kids participated and I also completed the triathlon. I had some time, after surviving the swim in the lake, to spend with God this past weekend. I wanted to share a snapshot of the realization I had with God while I ran.
I don’t want to dive too deep into the conversation since it will be what I preach on at the first youth service, Sunday @ 5. I will be preaching out of Ezra chapter 3. I stumbled, if you will, across this account in the Bible of the people of Israel returning to the home city to find it in ruins. However, despite the surrounding rubble the people still found a way to worship God. Scripture says that the leaders build an altar to God out of what seemed to be nothing. The people began to offer burnt offerings on the altar and give glory to God despite what surrounded them.
Many times in our lives we get so focused on the surroundings or what others think of us that we miss the opportunities to reflect Christ. Matthew 6:25 even brings about the question of meaningless worry. Life, especially a life lived for Christ, is more about bringing God glory than it is about anything else. This notion that we ought not to take thought is to expresses the idea that we are often distracted by those needless thoughts.
My son got a new haircut a few days ago. This was a big deal because this was the first time that he got to choose his own style. Usually his mother picks out his haircut even though I often disagree. My son now looks kind of like Mylie Cyrus from one angle and a defiant preteen from another. He has this style of hair that is short all the way around his head but the top is longer so he can comb it over as if trying to pull off the “preppy” look. Some new hairstyle rave, he says. As I watch my son fix his hair in the morning for the first time as if he has some impression to make I have to bite my tongue often. The greatest gift I can give my children is a vision for life and more importantly God’s vision for their life. I don’t want my son to be so distracted by his fashionable hair that he forgets to be who God is making him out to be. The Israelites remembered such an idea and did not let the concern of the destroyed city distract them from what God designed them to be. They were unpleased with their inability to rebuild the temple but they were not going to continue without the altar of God.
We get so distracted by the “he said…she said,” the he wore….she wore, and the “if only” ideas that we fall into the misguided notion that we can’t do anything because we have nothing. We can do amazing things if we start with God and build His house (our lives) with the altar of worship as the center point.
What is it that distracts you from glorifying God? What is it that seems to grab your attention? Like my sons haircut, I could make snappy funny little comments all day about his hair but I don’t want to impress on him a false impression of worth so I keep the comments to myself. What little thing do you focus on that might inhibit your ability to serve God fully? These are the questions I ponder while running my triathlon race. I have some room to work in. Do you?