It is March. I hope this isn’t news to you. If it is, you have either been under a rock or abducted and held in a room without clock or calendar. As neither of those options sound particularly pleasant, I hope they are not the case.
Part of me is relieved we are at last to March–doesn’t the new year feel like ages ago?–while the other part is nervously reflecting on the past two months, hoping to find productivity/growth/accomplishment amidst the days. Winner! While I didn’t cure cancer, or win a Nobel Prize, or overthrow a dictatorship (darn, I’m so far behind), I did kick a fear or two in the teeth, learn a thing or two about myself and my calling, and logged a hangout or two (or dozen) with peeps. And that’s only mentioning an activity or two! 🙂 [I’m having too much fun writing this…]
I’ve been thinking a lot lately, which is like saying I’ve been breathing a lot lately — I’m always thinking. It’s a preferred hobby, except for when my thinker wants to think at 3am. Then I rather hate it. But I digress. I have not been thinking about the future and all of the possible ramifications — well, I should say I have not been worrying over the future. Worrying would give me a stomach ache, thinking allows me to meander over oodles of possibilities, staying only long enough with each thought to say, “Huh…interesting…I wonder.” I’m digressing again. Ahem. What I mean to say is I’ve just been allowing myself to think about any and everything within the Biblical guidelines of good and right (Philippians 4:8). I think about the past week’s sermon. I think about my friends. I think about how I or someone else responded to a situation. Those are normal things, things we all think about on a regular basis.
And then…and then I think about all those little things that we only entertain when we are occupying ourselves solely with thought. I think about how our behavior collectively changes when we ride public buses. I think about the things we accept as normal, such as wedding rituals. I think about how lights that change color and a yellow stripe on a roadway are all that keep me and my car from slamming into someone else’s. I think about beauty and women, how from the earliest age girls are talked about in regards to their looks. I think about rituals, customs, habits, traditions. Idioms. Clichés. I think about how our culture, economy, chain of command, etc run, about the thousands of steps that take place in order for us to go about our daily activities.
And I think about “life” — what it means and what it takes to have a full life. What makes for a full life? There are inspirational quotes and books galore bent on helping us maximize the time we have here on earth. Many are annoyingly contradictory. Some people, for example, say to savor each moment as life is preciously short — slow down and take it all in. Others advise to seize each day, cram it full, because we aren’t promised tomorrow! Most would say it’s the people who are important, to foster and invest heavily in relationships. Some talk about “leaving a mark” and “making a difference.”
I’m not quite sure what I think. Surely to love Jesus and help others experience His love. And this world isn’t just a pit stop, a place we hurry through in order to get to our ultimate destination: heaven. No. So…what do we do while we’re here? Fame, fortune, and power mean nothing…so, what else? What’s the point? I should not spend my days wishing for the end, my head thrown back and my eyes boring into the sky so that I don’t have to see how my feet are trudging through the mire. Jesus came so that we can have life and life more abundantly (John 10:10)! Why do we always overlook this in the Bible, thinking only on how He saved us from eternal damnation and how one day after the hell of earth we’ll at last get to go to heaven?!
Perhaps you, like me, are a little confused on just how to have an abundant life. Do we attend more parties? Start more small groups? Add more friends on Facebook? Backpack through the Amazon and take in the beauty of nature? Or maybe it’s simpler than all of that — maybe we don’t have to “do” anything. Maybe it isn’t about performance or checking off a to-do list. Maybe it’s about walking through this life–rich or poor, popular or not, well-traveled or homegrown–with Jesus, with joy, and with the intent of making earth the preview for heaven. Whatever we do and at any moment. Yeah, I think I like that. I think I like that a lot.