Neighbors for Neighbors

Do stuff with and for your neighbors

Four years ago I found myself sitting in a desert camp in Jordan at 10:00 at night with a young man who was born in a cave in Petra. I had just been traveling for about 18 hours in cars, jets and a van. And now I was in this totally other world experience. He described his years growing up, and the many trips he would take by himself for a few days at a time into the desert - just to be by himself. He said that his family had an expression, "You go into the desert carrying a heavy load, but you come out without a care in the world." his expression, and the contemplating of the difference between his youth and mine have not ceased to rock me four years later. Does a nomadic life raising goats and spending days on end in the desert alone "count" as much as life that is bent on accomplishment? What is the meaning of life?

I must admit that I tend to define a meaningful life as one that accomplishes goals, advances causes and helps people. Yet, I am not so sure anymore. Can we really determine what a meaningful life is apart from context? Is there such a thing as a generically meaningful life, or is meaning dependent on God's intent and purposes?

Psalm 46:10 prophetically expresses God's words, "Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth." Does this define a meaningful life - to simply be still and know God?

The New American Standard Bible offers a few options for how to translate the Hebrew word for "be
still." One option is "Relax." This would indicate that we would do well to release all "our stuff" - our sense of over-responsibility and our tension - as we come before God. Another option is "Cease from striving." The point is clear. God wants us to simply "BE" with Him, and acknowledge that He is God and that we are not.

While there are texts that point to the importance of living ethically and loving others, this text in Psalm 46 has a different emphasis. God wants you to still yourself - and learn to "do nothing" ... well ... with Him. Can you take 5 minutes to simply do nothing with God today? Try not to read, quote, claim, ask or pray - just be with God. Be aware of yourself in God; experience yourself as one who is fearfully and wonderfully created by Him and for Him. Receive the invitation of God to rest and be yourself. In Christ you don't have to prove yourself - simply receive His provision. Such moments are grounding, restorative and rejuvenating.

Be still and know God.

With you,
Pastor Tom

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