I’ve noticed recently what incredibly comfort I have found in my morning bible study. It’s become a time that makes me feel safe. It makes me feel whole and close to God. Taking comfort in God is exactly what we’re meant to do all of our lives.
But I’ve also come to be wary of comfort … because it’s easy for personal comfort to become an idol.
Take your comfort in God … but don’t let your comfort become your god.
I began writing that post about 3 months ago … but something told me to hold on posting it. Since then, I’ve sold my comfortable house and bought another one that is a bit more of a project … because I felt that God was calling us to do so. So at least in one instance, I’ve been able to practice what I’ve preached. 😉
My bible reading plan (REAP) called for reading the first chapter of Ruth today. But without knowing it, this delightful story swept me away – and I read the whole thing. After reading the end of the book of Judges, it was so welcome to read about people who honored God, and treated each other with love. The way that the principals of the story – Naomi, Ruth and Boaz – treated one another and everyone around them was so exemplary! They were full of humility, put others before themselves, and showed honesty and integrity in every interaction.
As a businessman, I’m particularly interested in the way that Boaz operated. And I found myself thinking about how I could be more like him in my work. The first thing that stood out to me was his competence – as a businessman AND as a leader. The story says that he was wealthy – but it’s also apparent that a) he had a significant number of workers, and b) that they respected and obeyed him. He asked his workers to do some pretty strange (though clearly compassionate) things to accommodate Ruth, but his workers obeyed without question. This tells me that he maintained a close enough proximity to the work that he knew what was going on all over the operation, but also maintained enough distance to be able to see the big picture. He noticed Ruth, asked about her, and was able to immediately give instructions to his workers on hoe to handle the situation – he saw the big picture clearly.
He was personally invested in the success of his ventures. When it came to threshing time, he was there with his crew, working hard all day and presumably into the night. And he celebrated success with hid team – eating, drinking and making merry to celebrate a job well done.
Finally, he showed both shrewdness and integrity in dealing eith his peers. When he approached Naomi’s closest relative to ask about redeeming her husband ‘s land, he knew all along that he wanted to have the land – but especially the prize that came with it (Ruth)! So rather than starting to negotiate to buy the right to redeem Ruth, he approached the man, in the presence of witnesses, and suggested that he redeem Naomi’s property. Only after the man verbally agreed did Boaz raise the issue of Ruth being a part of the package. Since the man didn’t want to be in a position of splitting his inheritance eith another branch of the family (a fact which Boaz likely knew), the man withdrew his claim, and *freely offered it to Boaz in the presence of ten respected witnesses.*. Nobody associated with that transaction could say that Boaz was anything but fair, gnereous and honest in that transaction – AND he came away with the thing he wanted most.
I’m spending time today thinking how I can manage more like Boaz did. How can you?
My wife sometimes has trouble going to sleep because she’s anxious about the things that the next days and weeks will hold. For me, it’s waking up before dawn, before my alarm goes off, gripped with fear and anxiety about how I can possibly get through my day.
Jesus said, “where your treasure is, there shall your heart be also.” Matthew 6:21
I believe there is a corollary there … If you’re unsure where your heart truly is, think about the things that wake you up in a cold sweat. Because the things you fear are also a good indicator of where your heart is. I’ve felt separated from God for the past few weeks … Nothing terrible has happened, I’ve just felt a distance. I’ve been terribly distracted with a number of things in my professional and personal life, including a great deal of travel – which often means a disruption of my morning routine.
So I’ve been praying this morning for two things:
First, for God to work in my heart so that I follow Jesus with zeal. “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. (Psalm 42:1 NIV84)”
Second, that I would be able to free myself of attachments to this human kingdom, and to be at peace knowing that my place in His kingdom is secure. And my bible reading this morning yielded this from Hebrews – that summed it up perfectly.
If some friends went to prison, you stuck by them. If some enemies broke in and seized your goods, you let them go with a smile, knowing they couldn’t touch your real treasure. Nothing they did bothered you, nothing set you back. (Hebrews 10:34 MSG)
My prayer today, for me and for you, is that you would set your heart on God’s kingdom … not the one you see with your eyes. That you would have peace. And that you would go to bed and rise with an overwhelming sense of being in His hands.
Image from Sarah Suero http://sarahsuero.wordpress.com/2011/07/07/wake-up-live-big-go-now/