It has been fascinating for me to live in a small town. Growing up in the city, I never had much of a sense of community heritage and generational patterns, but you see these things more clearly in a small town. Families stick closer together. Lives are more intertwined. Businesses and farms are generational. Faith is part of the fabric of both family and community. Traditions bind generations.
I have also observed that there is a subtle sense of complacency that sets in across generations, especially as it relates to faith. Rather than being the personal, intimate relationship Jesus talked about and called us to it seems to me that, for some, faith slowly becomes just another communal tradition. Go through the motions. Keep up the tradition. It’s simply what we do; It’s what we have always done.
The older I get the more I realize that it takes effort not to experience complacency in our spiritual journey. Moses warned the people about it in today’s chapter as they prepared to enter the promised land. Along the way the patterns become habits, habits become traditions, and traditions are mindlessly acted out as they have always been done for generations. But, there’s no real investment of heart or mind in it. It’s Life-less. And then, bad things can happen.
This week I’m taking up the task of thinking about the things I continually do from work to faith to recreation and relationships. I want to be aware of areas in which complacency is setting in and try to understand how it affects me and those around me. Perhaps there are some changes I need to make to consciously re-engage my heart and mind.
You are to follow only God, your God, hold him in deep reverence, keep his commandments, listen obediently to what he says, serve him—hold on to him for dear life!Deuteronomy 13:4 (MSG)
There are days in which life itself doesn’t make much sense. There are days when I read God’s Message and I have more questions than answers. There are days when everything feels adrift. I love that even in the midst of these days, God throws me a life-line like the fourth verse of today’s chapter.
Follow. Press on.
Stay obedient. Keep doing what you’re doing.
Listen. Open both your ears and your heart.
And whatever you do, hold on for dear life!
If there’s anything that 16,565 days on the journey have taught me, it’s to cling to God and press on through days like this.
But even there, if you seek God, your God, you’ll be able to find him if you’re serious, looking for him with your whole heart and soul. Deuteronomy 4:29 (MSG)
When my nephew, Sam, was just a little guy about three years old his male spirit kicked in. Curious and wild at heart, the little man set out on an adventure from Grandma and Grandpa’s house wandering down the street in search of a buried treasure, a damsel in distress, or who knows what. With a house full of family young and old, it was several minutes before any one realized that Sam was missing.
I will never forget the desperate search of Sam’s mom, my sister, for her son. The entire family fanned out into the neighborhood, but a bloodhound on a scent has far less passion and intensity than my sister did that day as she searched for her boy. It did not take long before the little wayfarer was found a block or two down the street. Mother and son came walking back to the house together. The three year old Sam was smiling as if he’d had a fine time on his grand adventure. His mother was a basket case of emotions with tears streaking down her cheeks.
When I read today that those who want to find God should seek after him with their heart and soul, I thought of my sister’s desperate search for little Sam. The Kingdom of God is not something stumbled upon. It is not found by random happenstance. God is found by those who actively seek after Him.
Today I am reminded that while I may be a wayfarer on this journey through life, my road is not aimless.