TAKE A MOMENT TO BREATHE IN GOD’S PRESENCE as you begin.
Psalm 119-129-139 (NRSV)
129 Your decrees are wonderful;
therefore my soul keeps them.
130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple.
131 With open mouth I pant,
because I long for your commandments.
132 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
as is your custom toward those who love your name.
133 Keep my steps steady according to your promise,
and never let iniquity have dominion over me.
134 Redeem me from human oppression,
that I may keep your precepts.
135 Make your face shine upon your servant,
and teach me your statutes.
136 My eyes shed streams of tears
because your law is not kept.
137 You are righteous, O Lord,
and your judgments are right.
138 You have appointed your decrees in righteousness
and in all faithfulness.
139 My zeal consumes me
because my foes forget your words.
“Longing for Your Commands” by Jim Fisher
I am seeing a young chocolate lab snoozing on his favorite rug basking in the sunbeam streaming through the living room window. He’s watching me, one eye open, as I don my jacket from the closet by the door.
“Come on Gus. Let’s go.”
Gus bounds up from his nap, his tail wagging so hard he can hardly see straight, and the two of us head out the door and down to the park.
Gus dutifully restrains his enthusiasm matching his gait to mine, eyes forward, as an adorable spaniel passes us in the other direction.
“Go fetch Gus!”
I throw a Frisbee off into the distance over the hill. Gus lunges forward in a dead sprint looking more like a greyhound than a retriever. Racing. Clods of sod spitting up behind him. He catches up to the target, leaps to catch it in mid flight, lands with a skid, spins a 180 and lunges back to me. Dead sprint. Hockey stop. Drop the Frisbee. Sit. Pant, pant, pant, drool, drool, grin.
“Good going Gus!”
I toss him a treat. He longs for my next command.
Oh, Lord. If only I had the energy, faith, obedience…and focus of a dog. Might it look like this?
I am in my warm and cozy comfort zone. One eye open, I have the feeling something is about to happen. The Lord says, “Get up. Follow me.”
I leap up from my chair. “What should I do next, Lord?”
“Send an email to JJ. You have been praying for her health and job situation, but haven’t made personal contact for two weeks. She has an interview today. Check-in.”
“Will do Boss!” I spring forward, dead sprint, racing to my keyboard. Clickety-clickety-clickety, land with a skid, press “Send”. I spin and lunge back to my Lord. Dead sprint, Hockey stop. Pant, pant, pant, drool, drool, grin. I sit longing for His next command. If I had a tail, it would be vigorously whapping the floor.
“Well done good and faithful servant. Here’s a treat: JJ felt My spirit while you were composing that email and sent a response even before you sent your message.”
“Whooo. That’s awesome. What’s next?” Whap-whap-whap.
“You have ten things on your to-do list for today, I want you to do the 9th one next, not the 3rd one.”
“OK, Chief. I’m right on it!” I lunge forward in a dead sprint into the task at hand. I land with a skid, spin, return and drop the completed task at my Lord’s feet. Pant, pant, pant, drool, drool, grin. I look up at Him longing for His next command.
…Then later that day the person waiting for task 9 thanks me for getting it done early. The customer was pressing to see the result today, not tomorrow as originally planned.
And on and on it goes. It’s that simple.
…and it’s that hard. Isn’t it!
And when the day is done, all I need is for my Lord to rub my belly and scratch me behind the ears. I like when He holds my jowls in His hands and reassures me with His voice. I drool all over Him and He doesn’t mind. I rest sweetly knowing that we’ll do this all over again tomorrow.
PRAYER. Oh Jesus. Unfold your word and shine its light and wisdom on this simple servant. Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. Yell “HEEL” when I start heading the wrong way. Redeem me, that I may obey your every command. Make your face shine upon your servant and teach me all your lessons. And … um … could you throw me a treat whenever I have followed your lead and made you smile? Thanks…AMEN.
TAKE A MOMENT OF SILENCE as you close.