Yesterday, we talked about the widow in poverty giving everything she had to Christ. She wasn’t worried about worldly concerns, only giving to God. This is worship. This is an example to judge our worship by.
Is your worship pure and leading to the Kingdom of God, or tainted by the world and leading to destruction? Do you approach God like the widow or the child, or like the rich, only giving what you can spare?
It is easy to look down on those who have less than us, yet they are the ones often most nestled in the arms of God.
It is also easy to look down on our own lives, see what we are missing, and despair. Yet, it is here you might very well be closest to understanding the Good News of Christ. He came for you. Often, the things you think you want leave us empty. The thing you need most is all you are left with when you are broken.
When the spirit of God is your companion, you are never alone. Getting there requires the mindset of the widow, you give all that you have, that last drop of hope or your small copper coin, and then God allows you to see all of life as your companion – the stranger, the widow, the mentally ill, the prisoner.
Social Media exists to do one thing, make money. To do that, you are the product. You are the commodity needed for their growth. And our children.
The example we set can lead to destruction. or prayer. We have allowed media to encircle us and enter our homes because we did not recognize what was happening and do something soon enough. But there is another way.
I came home the other day and my nine-year old Gabriel was running from the woods with a stick. He was excited, he had just seen three deer in the woods. He’d been on patrol, as he put it.
He has no electrical device of his own. His screen time M-F is probably zero. We let me him watch documentaries and a movie on the weekend, supervised. The kid is Beskar steel, energy, excitement, constantly talking about the adventures he has ahead of him.
What are many of his 9-year old peers doing? Staring at screens, getting soft, being raised by someone other than their parents.
It’s hard, but it can be done. That boy starts every day standing in prayer with his brothers and sisters. Day after day, year after year, it makes a difference.
Will your home be a house of prayer, or a den of thieves?
What do we sacrifice for screen time?
More importantly, who is that sacrifice to?
The Netflix docudrama, The Social Dilemma, is centered on words of warning from former tech employees at Google, Facebook, Twitter, and others. They manipulate you to stay on your device and buy stuff. They try to get society to move in the direction they want 1% at a time. As you have probably heard, if you aren’t paying, you are the product.
But it is more than selling products. It is influencing societal norms and determining what is "truth". And when we allow children to connect, they are lost.
Truth can transcend time, and lessons from the past can seem like prophecies in our current times. I want to spend today discussing some nuggets from the great CS Lewis that are now almost 70 years old, but as relevant as they were then.
“Each day we are becoming a creature of splendid glory or one of unthinkable horror.”
“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.”
“When we Christians behave badly, or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world.”
Read yet another article today about a soldier suicide. It was accompanied by more pontification from some General on how they need to change the culture. They've been saying that for eternity. Act, or just shut up, and admit the lives of our military are pieces on a game board to you.
We are approaching a time where you must make a stand. If you try hard, you will make someone mad. That's actually the best way to know you are making a difference.
Examine yourself, remove the log from your eye, and then speak boldly. The times demand it.
Today, I remember a Marine Captain who implored me to never forget, "when you have the mic, say what needs said."
Don't give up.
Sometimes people reach a point in their lives where they have invested their time and energy in the wrong things and the result is loneliness and regret. If you feel like too much time has gone by and starting over seems insurmountable, there is hope.
You find it in unexpected places. You find it by realizing you have nothing to lose by making the time you have left matter. I found my entire career path volunteering in a maximum security prison. When you move forward, hope can be found in the most surprising places.
My faith is drawn from many waters, but one is a small miracle when our son, Isaac, was baptized in the Pacific Ocean south of San Francisco. It was a small miracle, but one I'll never forget, and one that always paints a picture of hope in my soul when dark clouds swirl around me.