“Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?’” (Luke 9:23-25 NKJV)
By now, everyone’s back to work after the Christmas holidays and the New Year’s break. I know that as I write this, someone’s going to say, “Not me!” If that’s you, you win. Kids are back in school where teachers are trying to instill those life skills necessary to succeed in their students. The new year is kicking into gear, and, in true American spirit, that means we put our shoulder to the wheel and our nose to the grindstone in our effort to become successful. (And fulfill our quota of cliches.) Which means, for most of us, money. A new home. A new car. Nice clothes. Freedom to live the American dream. And Americans are renowned for their work ethic. People working 60-70 hours as week, or more, to get ahead in life and get all the nice things they can to make what little spare time they have more comfortable. Then Jesus shatters our illusions about getting ahead and tells us to deny ourselves, die to the dreams and goals of our American spirit, and follow Him: follow the spirit of God. What good does it do to gain everything financially but put God in second place in our lives. What good does it do to lose ourselves in the acquisition of material things while ruining our health and our relationship with God? Jesus would look at all of us lost in the busyness of every day life and remind us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
If you’re like me, you probably got caught up in your work today. How did that go for you? Did it help you draw closer to God? Did you get so involved in your work and accomplishing your goals that you forgot to keep your eye on God? Have you become so successful that you don’t need God? Or, do you recognize that you need Him to work in your life every day, but aren’t quite sure how to open yourself up to God working in you especially during the work day? The key is spending time with Him in corporate worship and in private worship. Acknowledge Him throughout your day and you’ll be amazed how you experience His presence.
Lord, remind me of Your presence whether I’m rushing to meet the latest deadline, or quietly contemplating the beginning of my new project. Teach me to seek Your Kingdom first, knowing that You’ll take care of me each day. Let all I do show others that I live for You.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.