Today’s Bible reading:
2 Kings 9; 1 Timothy 6; Hosea 1; Psalm 119:73-96
As Paul closes his letter to Timothy he encourages him to “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confessions in the presence of many witnesses.”
If I spend my days pursuing this list I think I will keep rather busy. As I ponder what it means to pursue these things I recognize that Paul makes this statement after saying what a folly it is to pursue riches. (1 Timothy 6: 6-10) In pursuing riches, in “craving” money “some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (v. 10) “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” (v. 6) What is it I pursue? What is it I crave?
I think it is very hard to pursue those things apart from spending time sitting at the Lord’s feet and listening to His word. Would I be contemplating these words from 1 Timothy if I had not taken the time to stop and listen this morning? Probably not, I would be off and running pursuing whatever else my day puts before me-which happens to be firewood today in order to warm the house for the winter. A very good endeavor, but I chose to make time ahead of that to pursue the better thing. In Psalm 119 I read this morning: “My soul longs for Your salvation; I hope in Your word.” “In Your steadfast love give me life, that I may keep the testimonies of Your mouth.” “I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have given me life.” It just seems to me that my pursuit of righteousness has to begin in God’s Word. But it cannot end there-I cannot just read those words and not take hold of them, and not use them to fight the good fight.
What comes to mind as I ponder this is my current pursuit of firewood. I am determined to cut out heating bills this year. This required us to do a good bit of research to determine what would best meet our goals. Installation of the wood fireplace insert required another good bit of research and the installation was several days of hard work on our part. But then the inspector came and approved our labor and we were given the go-ahead to use our stove. Now for this to be a success we need to have a good supply of dry firewood-to which end we began collecting it last year. Our efforts to collect more this year are well underway and let me tell you it is work. It takes effort-I have muscles complaining because they have not been used in this way in years. But that is often the way with something worth having-it takes effort, it demands my time-time away from pursuits that I might otherwise enjoy. It has been quite a challenge to good out in the woods and NOT take my camera for that would just be too distracting for me. Though we are building in some play time today after the work is done so I am looking forward to that. But most of all I am looking forward to a warm, cozy house. And isn’t that just like the hope we have? The goal is out there-but at this time there is still effort needed by me in the pursuit of that goal. Daily effort. But that effort can become a joy if I keep my eyes on the prize-the upward call of Jesus Christ.
Grace, peace, and mercy,
I have some links on my home page for several Bible reading plans-check them out and find one that works for you.