Daily Devotions

Having More By Possessing Less

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And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:15)

When I sit down with people, more often than not, the conversation comes around to the frustration that life has gotten away from her/him. So many people feel spread so thin, that life itself seems to have taken on a life of its own. We want to scream because we do not have the time to do what we feel called to do. We feel guilt over not having enough time for our children, our spouse, or even with God.

Greg McKeown writes an article in the Harvard Business Review entitled, “The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.” McKeown affirms that only by doing less, can we do more. He calls it “the clarity paradox.” McKeown quotes from the book “How the Mighty Fall,” by Jim Collins, who says, “one of the key reasons for these failures was that companies fell into ‘the undisciplined pursuit of more.’ It is true for companies and it is true for careers.” I would argue that it is true of our entire life, including our spiritual life.

McKeown encourages the reader to unlock our lives by doing the following three things. “Get started by: Conducting a life audit.” Until you set priorities, you will be forced to say “yes” to everything, because it will all seem to have the same value. Second, you are to focus on “Eliminating an old activity before you add a new one.” I have chosen not to play my guitar regularly because I need to focus on taking that hour and a half for daily exercise. I cannot do both without ignoring my wife, and I am not willing to sacrifice my time with her any more than I already do.

The third issue is “the endowment effect,” which “refers to our tendency to value an item more once we own it.” We own so much. We pay for our cable television, so we need to watch it. We pay for our gym membership, so we better use it. We pay for that music membership, so we better listen to it. I wish people felt the same way about their church pledge. :-)

I pray we will consider these three considerations and how we can get our lives back. There should be time in our lives for work, family, and faith. Too many other things have taken over and we’ve lost our way. Pray for God’s Spirit to guide our path back to having more by possessing less.

Take on the Wilderness

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I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:19)

I love the outdoors. I used to love camping, until my back would no longer allow it. I loved the smell of the smoke from the fire. Food tastes better when made over an open fire. My wife is an exceptionally talented cook, even when cooking over an open flame. There is something freeing about being in the woods alone, far away from everyone. There was a special sense of satisfaction carrying a pack and a canoe over portages, getting physically tired, out in the wild.

Throughout the Old and New Testaments there are stories of individuals finding God out in the wild. God calls Abram and Sarai to pack up their tents and set out into the wild, without knowing exactly where. They were to just trust God to guide them. Moses finds God up in the mountains alone with the burning bush. David is hiding from King Saul out in one of the many desert caves, when he finds Saul walking into the same cave. Paul travels by primitive boat all over the Mediterranean Sea as well as walking all over what is now Turkey, Greece, Italy and so many other places. Just imagine all the nights these Biblical characters looked up into the heavens and prayed for God’s guidance.

Today, think about your times outdoors. You do not need to take two weeks in the Boundary Waters to have time in the wilderness with God. Take an afternoon and go to a local State Park and take a walk. If you only have a lunch hour available, just walk around a local park. Fresh air, physical exertion, and some time alone praying can refresh your spiritual life. Now, I know it is December, but bundling up and taking a walk will make you feel so good physically and spiritually. Do it before the snow gets too deep. Have fun!

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