One of my favorite stories is Max Lucado’s You Are Special. It tells of the Wemmicks, uniquely created wooden people carved by Eli the woodworker. Every day the Wemmicks give one another stickers: golden stars for good looks and fine talents; gray dots for things that seem “less than.” One Wemmick in particular, named Punchinello, accumulates only dots—a lot of them, which makes him very sad.
One day Punchinello meets a Wemmick to whom no stickers stick, neither the golden stars nor gray dots. He asks her how that can be, and she explains that she visits her creator, Eli, every day. Eli helps her know who she truly is. He affirms her as special and because of that affirmation, the stickers don’t stick. As Eli states, “The stickers only stick if they matter to you.”
This story reminds me of how often I allow the way of the world to define me, rather than God’s way. I often wonder what our world would be like if we all visited our Creator before heading out in the world each day. What if we pondered God’s word, experiencing the quiet endurance of a steadfast faith, fully and firmly planted, drinking from the streams of living water? If we did, wouldn’t we value our personal Jerusalems, Judeas, Samarias, and ends of the earth more? Wouldn’t we then walk in the way of the righteous, producing good fruit? And wouldn’t we better resist the way of the wicked?
True blessedness, true happiness, is the gift of a firm foundation. The true reward of God’s word comes in allowing it to transform us.
O God, may we walk in the way of righteousness, delighting in your law. Amen.
Scripture tells us that in our lives in general, and especially in our spiritual lives, we need to distinguish what is true from what is false. The psalmist admonishes us to follow the truth of God and flee wicked ideas. This week we read about Judas, who did not follow the psalmist’s advice—with disastrous results. In Acts the apostles seek to replace Judas among their number with a witness to Jesus who has not been led astray. In John’s Gospel, Jesus bemoans the loss of Judas and prays that his followers will cling to his words. The author of First John testifies that God’s words are trustworthy above all others. They bear witness to the life that comes through Christ, whose legitimacy was confirmed by his ascension into heaven.
• Read Acts 1:15-17, 21-26. When have you experienced the disruption of a meaningful relationship through death? How did you eventually recover?
• Read Psalm 1. When have you allowed the world to define you? How do you avoid that?
• Read 1 John 5:9-13. How have you come to know the testimony of God in your heart?
• Read John 17:6-19. What helps you sense God’s presence and protection?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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