“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Matthew 25:40 (NIV)
I’ve been experimenting this year with an organizational system based on the way monks operate. It asks me to prepare, act, and reflect on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis. I admit that I’m still trying to get into the swing of it, but the biggest takeaway so far has been the addition of a conscious and deliberate process of reflecting.
At the end of the day: How did today go? Did I accomplish what I set out to do? What was the highlight? For what am I grateful? How can I do better tomorow?
At the end of the week: How did this week go? Did I accomplish what I set out to do? What were the highlights? For what am I grateful? How can I do better next week?
At the end of the month…
At the end of the year…
What it’s teaching me is that reflection is a more powerful tool than I’ve ever understood. I’ve too often moved forward to the next day and thrown yesterday onto the scrap heap of days gone by without mining that day’s (or week’s, or month’s, or year’s) experience in a way that can inform my tomorrow.
This idea of reflection came to mind as I pondered today’s chapter, which is a continuation of the previous chapter, in which Jesus’ disciples asked Him about the end times and final chapters of the Great Story. Jesus said that He would someday return, but that the day and hour of His return were unknown. Nevertheless, there are three parables Jesus tells in succession to inform me regarding how I, as His follower, should conduct myself in light of His unknown yet imminent return.
The first parable is about virgins at a wedding awaiting the arrival of the Bridegroom. In Jesus’ time, all the eligible single girls would carry lamps and accompany the bridegroom and his bride at night to the wedding feast. The lamps illuminated the eligible single women for all the single men who were looking for wives. In Jesus’ parable, the Bridegroom is running late and half the virgins were unprepared, missing the opportunity. Jesus is telling me to always be mindful and prepared for His arrival.
In the second parable, Jesus tells of a man who went on a long journey. He leaves money with three servants. Two of them invest the money and grow the investment, the third does not. Jesus is telling me to invest the gifts and resources I’ve been given to advance God’s Kingdom on earth until my number’s up or He returns.
In the third parable, Jesus envisions Judgement Day. Those He welcomes into eternity are those who took care of Him by caring for the poor, the hungry, the sick, prisoners, and the needy. Jesus is telling me where to focus my investment of gifts and resources.
Every time my chapter-a-day journey brings me back to today’s chapter, it’s always a gut-check for me. It prompts introspection and self-evaluation. As a follower, Jesus asks me to consider three questions:
Today, am I living, speaking, thinking, and acting with an eternal perspective?
Today, am I investing my time, energy, gifts, and finances in the things of God?
Today, are the objects of my investment the poor, needy, sick, and/or outcast?
Good questions on which to reflect in the quiet this morning as I prepare to launch into another work week.
If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.