Today was one of those mornings. As I rose from bed at 6:30 am, on a Saturday, my thoughts went something like this, “You are crazy. Who would choose to be doing this, when it looks like that outside?” My body responded to this thought by simply moving forward. I got dressed, stretched, laced up my shoes, and headed out the door. What in your life has become part of your life by simple routine? Perhaps your body screams for more sleep and a warm bed, but your rational, and perhaps, determined thoughts, convince you otherwise? For many of us, when it comes to taking care of our bodies, perhaps in the area of exercise, we find ourselves easily swayed to follow the excuses our minds convince us of. At what point is it the “right” time? Dare I say that time may be today?
My lesson for today – my loss is His gain. If I look at what my loss might have been this morning (loss of sleep, ease of any pain, my ‘right’ to skip a training day because I feel like it), it seems like a minute sacrifice as to what I gained, or became blessed with. The apostle Paul said it best,
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.
For me, I have pledged to be faithful in this way, to commit to Him my obedience in “training” to run the race for Him. For me, this means for the long-haul. Until otherwise notified, I will run for him. The blessings and benefits from this are simply too long to list. What was “fresh” to be this morning, was simply the joy of running. I haven’t ‘felt’ this for a few weeks, so I appreciated several aspects of this. It confirmed again the simple awe of being able to run, to see his creation in such a fresh way as the trees donned a white coat and snowflakes fell on my lashes, I was able to complete the daunting task of finishing an 11 mile run in the darkness of the morning, and I ran with no pain. I returned full of joy, patience, and grace that only comes from Him ready to tackle the day, even a morning full of cookie baking.
What is the ultimate privilege here? To simply be a servant of His. My family and I have experienced the amazing privilege of serving though a ministry called The Manger this week. This ministry gave us the opportunity, as a family, to be the hands of feet of Christ, an outward extension of Him as we greeted, shopped with, wrapped presents, and prayed with beautiful families experiencing a time a financial strain. Hearts were opened, lives were changed this week as they welcomed Christ into their broken hearts. There were many excuses not to go, several other ‘good’ activities could have replaced our time at the Manger. Not that we have it all figured it out, or can perfectly discern God’s best in all situations, but we have readied our hearts to be flexible and obedient to His plan. The results? We left more blessed than any blessing we could have given. When asked at the dinner table if they wanted to serve again for the third time this past week, the kids spoke was a unanimous “yes”. I cringe to think about the possibility that we could have missed out.
In looking at my Bible Study questions earlier, these passages simply touched a new place in my heart, affirming and confirming his personal touch today in “that God works all things for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
2 Corinthians 1:4-6
4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 12:9
9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
What is your excuse today? Who’s voice are you listening to? What might you be missing out on? Sometimes it requires us to simply do the next thing. Perhaps it might take one simple act. Will you tie up your laces today?