What’s on your schedule this week? Do you have appointments, tasks, and objectives written on your calendar or stored in that little black box you carry? My spiral-bound planner lies open on my countertop, so that, with a glance, I see all my commitments and plans for the month. Last spring, the daily boxes were crammed so full of reminders that I was forced to also make notes in the margins of the page. (If you follow this blog, you probably noticed a gap of weeks without posts … )
No matter what form of calendar you keep, look at it now. You’ll see days and weeks and months filled with … what?
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. (Colossians 3:16)
Isn’t that a lovely picture? This verse evoked an immediate image; I saw my life as a cup or bowl, with great and satisfying richness being poured into it until it overflowed.
But after I savored the lovely picture, I had to ask some questions.
What fills my life now?
What fills the little white squares on my calendar? What consumes my minutes and hours, days and weeks? What is it that fills the cup of my life?
Just off the top of my head, I listed some of the things that might dominate our days, fill our lives:
Trying to live up to certain standards, maybe your spouse’s, your peers’, God’s, your own
Praise and expectation
Television (oops. Does that date me? Would it be Facebook now?)
A search for possessions, security, health, position, the “right person”
Being the best parent, wife, grandmother, friend, employee
Working to pay bills and support a family
Working to building a secure future
This is just a beginning, and I’m not evaluating the rightness or wrongness of any of these things. I’m just trying to take an honest look at our days and ask… What are the things that rule our lives, our thoughts, our hopes and dreams?
So what, then, is the richness of the message about Christ?
How would you answer that question? What richness does the message of Christ pour into your life? Again, this list is just meant to prime your (and my) thought process:
No matter what is going on around me, Christ says He overcomes the world.
Christ’s Spirit works in me, empowers me, changes me, gives me a new life.
Christ gave me a clean slate before God.
The message about Christ is that He came because of God’s great love for this world.
God’s love is unfailing; He cares about the details of my life.
Christ makes available to me the power that raised Him from the dead.
The Lord is my Shepherd. I will have everything I need.
By His divine power, God has given us everything we need to live a godly life.
My life is in Christ, belonging to a kingdom beyond this world, going on eternally…
How might my week change if it is focused on these messages rather than on the first list above?
I am not advocating running off to our own little sanctuary and spending our days pondering Scripture rather than fulfilling the roles we’ve chosen in life. As long as we’re on this earth, we’ll need to tend to the business of living.
But I am asking … on what are we building our lives? To what do we give our thoughts, our energy, and our emotions? Are the hours of my day controlled by some of those things in the first list, or is everything in my life—responsibilities, happy times, sad times, troubles and triumphs—met and lived in the light of the messages that Christ brought to the world? Do Christ and His message saturate and sustain our every breath?
Even the most noble of human aspirations and efforts fall short; there are always disappointments, failings, and, eventually, everything in that first list will be gone. Even our thankfulness and praise is limited in our humanity. The second list is eternal. Is our focus—the light that leads us along the path and directs our choices and dictates what and how we think—is it the first list or the second?
We all know the story Jesus told about the wise man and the foolish man, one building upon a rock, the other on sand. Anyone who does not live according to His words, Jesus said, was like someone building a house on sand; and when storms come, the house will quickly be washed away.
Storms can quickly wash away all those things that fill up our calendar, even the best of the list. But building our houses firmly on the message of Christ is like building on bedrock; the house will never collapse, no matter what beats against it. (Matthew 7:24-27)
And how do I fill my life with the richness of His message?
I want the richness poured into my life. I want to live on solid rock. I want security that will not disappear or be taken away. HOW does that happen?
Did you notice that Paul says, “Let the message about Christ …”? We have to open the door, open ourselves to Christ’s message, invite the Spirit to start filling…
There are more Scriptures that point the way, but I find it interesting that Paul immediately gives us two concrete things we can do: Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. (v.16)
I’d like to focus on his first statement.
Isn’t it interesting that the very first thing Paul advises is to teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom God gives? I repeat my plea from a previous post: Whatever gift God has given you for encouraging brothers and sisters – use it! The Spirit works through all of us in different ways, at different times, and in relationship to different people.
We all have some part in filling each other’s lives with the richness of Christ and His message!
The gift, the counsel, and the wisdom God has given you will help complete that lovely picture of Christ’s richness pouring into my life as I seek to build my house on the Rock.