She didn’t need to rise with the sun and begin her preparations. She was beautiful already. After all, he had fallen in love with her on a day she wore little makeup, had made hardly any preparation. Dark eyebrows and a flick of long lashes drew attention to her green eyes all by themselves. Her blond hair had been loose except one piece tucked behind her small sculpted ear. She wore it that way often, naturally, as if to invite conversation. See, I’m listening, her uncovered ear, her open smiling face, seemed to say.
So, this day, he was not sure at all why she needed to go to such lengths.
“Because I love you,” she had answered him. “It’s our wedding day. You wait; you’ll see,” she said bussing his cheek and closing the door to the bridal room.
Today’s blog is written by Eugene C. Scott, who joins Mike in writing A Daily Bible Conversation twice a week.
TODAY’S READING (click here to view today’s reading online)
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
Jeremiah 8:8-9:26: Life would be simpler if all it amounted to is a to do list: get up, brush your teeth, greet your family, eat, say hi to God–maybe, go to work, put in 8 (or more) hours, do this, do that, worship God–every other Sunday, or so, watch TV, check off items on to do list, go to bed, repeat.
Some days that’s all some of us can do–go through the motions, no passion–just make it through the day.
Life may be simpler then but not many of us want to live life as a to do list. God doesn’t desire that either, especially in our relationship with him. “I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh,” God tells Israel in Jeremiah 9:26.
In other words, duty must be more than skin deep. It must penetrate the heart.
The question God asked me from this verse was: “Eugene, does your daily routine reflect a passionate, living relationship with me and your family and friends? Or is it going through the motions, on the surface only?”
“Good question, God.”
Proverbs 24:27: Often when a conversation about reaching out to outsiders or serving the community comes up in church circles, someone invariably will say something like, “We need to get our house in order before we start trying to help others.”
And it sounds like it makes sense. But it doesn’t. God has ordered the world counter-intuitively. God says when we give, then we have room to receive (I am not speaking as a name-it-and-claim-it televangelist). This is not about money or belongings. It’s about living a dependent life on God.
So this Proverb tells us, do the outside work, the planting of faith in others, first, then build your house. Why is it so many faith communities, churches, bounce from one growth program to another, the latest and greatest growth fad? Or that so many of us followers of Christ struggle to experience a vital faith? Could it because we are working against God’s flow? We are building our own houses first. What if giving ourselves away is God’s only growth program for our faith?
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
The opening scenario is fictional but repeated on wedding days all through the year. The bride spends hours getting ready (grooms don’t know how lucky they are to be spared this routine. A tuxedo covers a multitude of sins).
I’ve performed over 400 weddings. And I’ve never seen an ugly bride. So, why do they do it? Why, if they are already so beautiful? For some I am sure it is vanity, pageantry, life-long girlish dreams. But under that is a desire to dress in a way that mirrors an inward reality. Love and commitment are beautiful. Most brides want their wedding dress, makeup, flowers, and up-do to point to an inward joy and hope.
In Colossians 3 Paul uses this getting dressed metaphor to encourage us in living our faith out. “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience,” Paul writes. I often read this passage at weddings.
Then I ask, “What if you daily spent as much time, creativity, and energy clothing yourselves for each other in these traits and attitudes as you did choosing your tux and wedding dress for this day?”
What if we each did that? Standing each day in the closet or before the dresser saying, “Today I am going to wear this red shirt of forgiveness. It will go well with my slacks of self-sacrifice. And I’ll tie it altogether with love.”
The point is, even if it’s not a special day, such as a wedding, many of us (color blind, fashion-impaired men excepted) spend more time choosing our clothing than we do allowing the peace of Christ rule our hearts and then seep out to change our external look.
One of the most fascinating points in a wedding is watching the nervous, tuxedo encased groom nearly explode as his bride comes through the door. We, the people of the church, are the bride of Christ. Have we this day clothed ourselves in what will make him burst out and smile?
- What theme do you see in today’s passages?
- What trait do you need most to clothe yourself in?
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