Every day the papers seem to be filled with bad news, and we can easily become anxious about the future. Instead of becoming disheartened and paralysed by fear, trust in the good Lord and turn your hand to some activity that brings you joy; join in God’s ongoing enjoyment of His creation.
Make the most of each (day)!
Whatever turns up, grab it and do it.
~ Ecclesiastes 9:10 (MSG)
This thought is very personal right now as I am newly retired and consequently, I am working out what God would have me do after a career of full-time work. I am finding this season exciting, surprising, and I must say, really fulfilling!
Thinking about the world we find ourselves living in today, from my vantage point, it seems that it is more unstable than it has ever been. If I think back through the centuries, I can’t think of a time when the pace of change and the degree of instability has ever been greater. So I find myself understanding why ‘men’s (and women’s) hearts are fainting with fear.’ (Luke 21:26)
I find that fear results in two things: paralysis and submission. What do I mean? When I am afraid of future things coming on the earth, I can simply wind back, stay in bed longer, and resign myself to waiting for a better tomorrow. I am also prone to simply do what I am told by anyone who appears to have solutions and is more upbeat than me. They can, more or less, tell me to do anything, and I will do it!
So my encouragement for us today, is to examine ourselves — has fear got ahold of us? Then, comes the fun part! Whatever our hands find to do, determine to do it with all our heart. Let me tell my story.
For years now, I have been home-brewing. It’s a very slow hobby, that requires patience as the brews take up to six months or more to come to maturity. Over the years, I have made loquat and merlot wine and ciders. But this year, I let it slip. I have not started any new brews; I just thought I should give it a rest.
Then, last week, a friend saw me and said that they had a superabundance of kaffir limes in their yard, and did I want any to make some wine? Well, that was just the word I needed, the spark to reignite the passion! Why not, I thought. I have never made a lime wine before. How to make a wine from limes that is not sour but refreshing? I love a challenge!
On the back of this idea, I am now building a homemade heat pad for the fermentation process, as, in the middle of winter, the yeast cells must be kept warm overnight, or they will simply go back to sleep or die.
So, my encouragement for us today is to pick up that hobby that you have let slip, gathering dust. Pick up that activity or that service that you used to do, but has not come back to the fore these last few years.
My wife and I are passionate about encouraging young people to find their soulmates. So, this scripture comes to mind, regarding the Israelites in their captivity in Babylon:
This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel,
says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:
“Build houses and settle down;
plant gardens and eat what they produce.
Marry and have sons and daughters;
find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage,
so that they too may have sons and daughters.
Increase in number there; do not decrease.
Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city
to which I have carried you into exile.
Pray to the Lord for it,
because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
~ Jeremiah 29:4-7 (NIV)
They would have every reason to feel disappointed and disillusioned. Naturally, why would they want their captors to prosper? But God said, ‘get busy’ and pray for them. The list of things to be doing is extraordinary, but if we think about all these things on God’s list, they all bring us joy, fulfilment, and peace. The perfect antidote for fear.
So, my encouragement for us today is to pick up our hobbies, dust them off and get busy with all our hearts. Just a few of mine, in no particular order: home-brewing, gardening, reading, classical music, cooking, walking, photography, writing, vlogging and being an encourager.
Why not pick up one of yours today? I can attest that they do us good. I feel good, just thinking about them!
Photo by Los Muertos Crew.