Thanks as always for your support.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you..” Matthew 6:33
Is your faith the center of your life or tacked on to your life? “No man can serve two masters…” (Matthew 6:24).
Do you believe that? Compare Brother Lawrence’s life: “After having given myself wholly to God to make all the satisfaction I could for my sins, I renounced, for the love of Him, everything that was not God; and I began to live as if there was none but He and I in the world.”
Doesn’t “seek first the kingdom” mean we are to have but one goal, and that is to know Jesus Christ personally, powerfully, passionately, and preeminently? Doesn’t it mean that everything else will flow out of that?
You say, “But wait a minute. Brother Lawrence was a monk in a much different time. I’ve got other things to do! I’ve got a job. I’ve got to rest. I’ve got to have recreation. I’ve got to have friends. I can’t just narrow my interests to one.”
Doesn’t it come down to one question? Who is the center of your life: Jesus or You?
Disturbingly simple isn’t it?
Moreover, his state affected his work. His co-workers noted, that even in the busiest times in the kitchen, Brother Lawrence still preserved his recollection and heavenly-mindedness. He was never hasty nor loitering, but did each thing in its turn with an even, uninterrupted composure and tranquility of spirit. “The time of work,” said he, “does not with me differ from the time of prayer. In the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great a tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Supper.”
But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? —Romans 10:14
He knew he needed God’s help even to be in His presence so he would pray: “O my God, since Thou art with me, and I must now, in obedience to Thy commands, apply my mind to these outward things, grant me the grace to continue in Thy Presence; and prosper me with Thy assistance. Receive all my works, and possess all my affections.” As he proceeded in his work, he continued his familiar conversation with his Maker, imploring His grace, and offering Him all his actions. In other words, he prayed he would be able to focus on his work and His God simultaneously.
When he was finished, he examined how he had performed his duty. If he found well, he returned thanks to God. If not, he asked pardon and, without being discouraged, he set his mind right again. He then continued his exercise of the presence of God as if he had never deviated from it. “Thus,” said he, “by rising after my falls, and by frequently renewed acts of faith and love, I have come to a state where it would be as difficult for me not to think of God as it was at first to accustom myself to the habit of thinking of Him.”
Rose and I will be in Texas on Saturday at “The Wedding.” Rose’s godchild, Paul Elliott, is marrying Katie Godfrey. The couple has shown much maturity in the process. They are both now college graduates. Paul has an advanced degree in Math and has a job teaching at LSU-E. It will be good seeing the family and getting to spend some time away over the weekend.
Just as funerals remind the family of our own mortality, weddings remind us of our own blessings. I was born as the oldest of nine children. Our parents didn’t have much. We didn’t have a car until I was in high school and we lived in housing project for years. But the children all did well. We lost one sister years ago, and we miss her. I enjoy being with all that remain and their beloveds, and offspring.
Of course, I will be with my bride of 42 years. Our own wedding seems like it was just yesterday… okay, maybe the day before.
Marriage is under fire these days with many not seeing the need for it. I can attest to its value in my life. The marriage of my parents, my siblings, and my own convince me that marriage is still God’s plan. If we are willing to put Him first, our spouse second, our kids next, it still works.
Paul and Katie. I pray a great life for you. That you will have the wisdom and faith to follow Him and His plan and enjoy His blessings through all the trials that every life has.