Welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. My friend, may I ask you a question today? Does God daily tell us that as each day begins with his good grace, the day itself deserves our fullest purpose? In that sense, does our daily labor glorify him, giving it purpose to be lived out with as much gusto as it had begun in his grace?
My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day.
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My brothers and I worked for a farmer many years ago feeding cattle and generally doing odd jobs around the place. Occasionally when there was a break in the work his wife would pour my brothers and me a glass of lemonade and the old farmer would join us. I can still remember sitting under the farmhouse awning exchanging thoughts about the day’s work, perhaps the weather and the mood of this steer or that cow. The old farmer smiled and nodded as we three boys chatted. When the talk died down a bit and the work loomed again he posed a question. “So, what do you Brunner boys plan to do with your lives?” A simple question, and each one of us scratched for a good answer I’m sure. I probably blurted out something or other like “go to college and find a good job.” My brothers likely responded similarly. The farmer quickly interjected however. “No, I mean right now, today–when you’ve finished your chores.” You know, I don’t think that we had a great answer other than, “Well, take it easy, maybe play some baseball and, well, just hang out.” “Good, good. That’s a good plan.” He responded. We got back to work and moved on to the “good plan” as soon as our chores were done; even though we had our doubts about whether or not a baseball game or just hanging out really had anything to do with living. The farmer, nonetheless, got the answer he was looking for.
The old farmer’s question had everything to do with the moment and nothing beyond that. I think he was trying to tell us that a day that started out with good hard work, was a day that deserved a fuller purpose when that work was done. In that sense, our chores glorified the day, giving it purpose to be lived out with as much gusto as it had begun.
Here’s a thought from J. Stowell on purpose. “Johanne Sebastian Bach said, ‘All music should have no other end and aim than the glory of God and the soul’s refreshment; where this is not remembered there is no real music but only a devilish hub-bub.’ He headed his compositions: ‘J.J.’ ‘Jesus Juva’ which means ‘Jesus help me.’ He ended them ‘S.D.G.’ ‘Soli Dei gratia’ which means ‘To God alone the praise.’” (Kingdom Conflict, J. Stowell, Victor, 1985, p. 77ff.)
In Mark 6:45 we read: “Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.” Like that old farmer, Jesus, living in the moment, glorified it, constraining his disciples to do so as well. Their mission was to “go ahead” and he to “dismiss the crowd” and enter into prayer! A moment of obedience was in order. The day had started out with a miraculous dinner and edifying teaching, and would be further glorified in setting sail, moving on to other opportunities and a prayerful finish. I believe that God begins and ends each day of our lives in similar, purposeful beckoning. He bids us to enter into his presence: learn, grow, worship and persist in the glory of the moment. His core concern is not our future. Like that old farmer his chief purpose for us is in the day; the training and nurturing thereof as it unfolds. This glorifies him and beyond that most is of little consequence. So, as we enter the day may we say with Bach, “To God alone the praise?” Our tomorrows ought be a repeat performance and nothing less.
We pray. Thank you Lord for providing us with a singular purpose in life that is meaningful and simple to follow: living the moments in obedience to you. We often get caught up thinking about, even living for, the future. Forgive us Father when we steal from today to build our tomorrows. May we go to sleep tonight satisfied that the day was all we had, and really all that mattered. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. This Passing Day. (Matt 6:34)
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