Consider how the lilies grow; they do not work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these lilies. It is God who clothes the wild grass – grass that is here today and gone tomorrow, burned up in the oven. Won’t he be all the more sure to clothe you? What little faith you have! So do not start worrying. Your Father in heaven knows what you need. Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things. So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings. Matthew 6:28-34
These Bible verses have been on my mind all week, and there are three reasons for that.
1. I got my first pension check! Getting paid for not doing anything! Okay – it is my money that was saved in an account over the years I worked and converted to an annuity when I retired – and it won’t really pay many of the bills – but that’s what it felt like when I saw the money in the bank account.
2. When we were riding the Towpath Trail on Saturday (see previous post) there was a field of beautiful day lilies. Acres of them. Dancing and singing and rejoicing in the breeze. More beautiful than any of King Solomon’s clothes – or any of mine! Each bloom only lasts one day, but during that day, how glorious they are. I want to be a beautiful creation of God, dancing and singing and rejoicing in each day that I am given.
3. I have been studying Ecclesiastes for my devotions each morning and these verses sound like they could have come from Ecclesiastes. I didn’t appreciate this book when I was younger, but once I hit 50, this wonderful book of the Bible really came alive for me. It was obviously written by someone in midlife, trying to decide if his life had been worthwhile – if it had meaning – if it was a life of significance. And his conclusion was that we should enjoy each of the days of our life – they are a gift from God. “The Philosopher tried to find comforting words, but the words he wrote were honest.”
One of the things I struggle with is feeling like a “has-been.” When I was young, I got all kinds of awards. I did really well in school. As a young pastor, people would say I was an “up and comer.” The people in my church forgave my faults easily because they chalked it up to inexperience.
But as you get older, people are less apt to forgive your mistakes, feeling that you should have learned better by now. You have to work harder to keep up with an ever-changing world and with technology. You have to keep proving yourself over and over. You can’t rest or sit back and feel like you are done. There is always more to do.
You work for something with all your wisdom, knowledge, and skill, and then you have to leave it all to someone who hasn’t had to work for it. You work and worry your way through life, and what do you have to show for it? It is like chasing after the wind. Ecclesiastes 2:21-22, 26
I feel so blessed that I am able to reshape my life at this time. I know a lot of things that I didn’t know when I started out. I hope that I am wiser. If I don’t have the energy I had when I was young, I can make up for it with experience. And I have learned the same lesson learned by the Philosopher in Ecclesiastes: You should eat and drink and enjoy what you have worked for during the short life that God gives you. Have reverence for God and obey his commands because this is what we were created for. Ecclesiastes 11:13