There are times when lists are more impactful than even the most eloquent narrative. This is probably why lists as blog content are popular…you know, things like Top 5 Ways to Be More Efficient, 10 Ways to Improve Your Overall Health, Top 10 Universities of the Year, etc. I am not sure what the best title for this week’s blog post is, but “Astonishing Numbers” may be the most descriptive and it too falls into that category of lists.
About a year ago, we bought a home. It has a long driveway, stretching from the road to a garage on the back of the property. That’s a lot of concrete to clear when it snows here in Iowa. I had not prepared for the first snowfall, which brought several inches of thick, heavy snow. It took our family of seven several hours (and shovels) to clear the snow. But this morning, when we woke up to five inches of snow, I did not fear (throwing out my back again). I could laugh at the snowfall. Because I had purchased a snowblower fit for our drive.
Workers are quitting their jobs at record rates. Frustrated by low pay, bad working conditions, and all the disruptions caused by the pandemic, people have become disillusioned with work and are searching for greener pastures in better jobs, their own start-ups, or in some cases doing nothing more than the bare minimum to survive. But the Great Resignation must become the great realization – people need to realize that work cannot fulfill all the desires and meet all the expectations that we have been conditioned to think it should.
On December 31, 2017, I started a new New Years tradition. I grab my journal, my Bible, a few pens or markers, and make myself cozy under a warm blanket. I skim my journal entries, think about the books of the Bible I read that year, recall the struggles and heartaches, and try to list the lessons learned.
Then, I wonder what themes from the past year God invites me to carry into the next. I choose a word to represent each theme, and I write the words on a sticky note.
Ecclesiastes 3 begins by saying, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Eccles. 3:1, ESV). Every day is an opportunity to demonstrate the goodness of God to our colleagues, but the new year provides a great opportunity to refocus our efforts on sharing the goodness of God with our coworkers.
Panic! Perhaps you’re feeling it. The countdown is on. Holidays are quickly approaching. Family and friends are coming! There might be decorating to finish, food to prepare, tables to set, plus dusting and dog fur to vacuum. If you’re hosting at your house this year, you’re likely feeling some pressure. If a gaggle of family is invading, you’re likely thinking, “How will I get it all done?”
While our American tradition of observing Thanksgiving is not a holy holiday, it is an opportune time to pause and be thankful. A heart filled with gratitude makes all the difference. It soothes the soul when loneliness or hurt or depression rule the day. A spirit of thankfulness promotes humility and joy and selflessness, while at the same time consuming the sin that misshapes our hearts. All of these move us closer to holiness and into greater communion with our Heavenly Father.
We are in for a treat today. Dave Strunk, senior pastor—Church of the Redeemer in Blount County Tennessee—graciously agreed to share a couple of his poems with us. I can already sense the eye-rolling that may be going on by some of you, but please keep reading. If poetry is not your thing, that is okay, but it does not mean there is not value in dabbling in it occasionally. Poems have a way of looking at life that sometimes is missed. This genre has a way of speaking to the heart, which is one of the reasons the Psalms are such favorites.