Daily Devotions

Showing items filed under “Scott Paczkowski”

Will Gordie Learn to Not Fall Down the Steps Face First?

 

Keep steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,

yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children

and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:7)

 

We are learning life lessons throughout our lives, if we have any integrity whatsoever. Some lessons we learn early in life. On Sunday, my grandson Gordie learned that he is still too small to walk down the steps facing forward. He took a fall, landing on his chest, on the chapel’s hard slate floor. I heard Bill Ekhardt gasp from the chancel. Gordie bounced up without a tear and tried again. He is a wonderful kid, tough as nails, but he is stubborn and will learn some lessons the hard way!

 

Our life becomes more meaningful and exciting if we can learn the important lessons of life sooner rather than later. One of my favorite writers, Ayodeji Awosika, in his article, “The Most Powerful Lessons People Learn Much Too Late in Life,” confirms that too many of us waste vast amounts of our life on things that are meaningless. By learning the following, we can expand the meaning of our life. Awosika asks, “How safe and practical you were” is not the question that brings meaning to your life. Gordie needs to be safe and practical going down the steps at 23 months old, but he shouldn’t be overly safe at everything. With wisdom, Gordie will learn what is worth the risk and when it is just better to be safe.

 

Instead, Awosika calls us to do three important things, that are worthy of risk.

1. “Do things I enjoy and be creative.” Wasting time is its own risk, but it is important for us, at every age, to take significant time to find out what in life makes you excited to get up every day. One of the saddest things I’ve experienced is talking to men or women in nursing homes who share their despair that they wasted their life working at something that they were not proud of or found meaningful. Life is too short to spend 80% of our waking hours doing something we hate. No amount of money can be worth wasting your life.

 2. “Make an Impact and Leave a Legacy.” Every day of our life is one more brick on our life’s foundation. The life we leave, good or bad, leaves a legacy. Like the Bible says, our actions will affect our families to the “third and fourth generation.” The sooner we learn that our lives are not just our own, but our actions affects those we love, the better our world will be.

Which leads us to 3. “Be a good person.” If we are unloving, our legacy will be horrific, no matter how “successful” we become. You can be President of the United States, but if your legacy is unloving, your legacy will ultimately be one of failure. Today, simply ponder the life lessons you still want to master, so your legacy will be one that makes a positive difference and honors God.

 

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Getting Coached Up

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Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19)

 

When I was in middle school, I had a basketball coach who I truly respected. He had been a starting college player at Southern Methodist University. He was a great motivator. One of the statements he would regularly use was, “Your body is a temple of the Lord.” Then he would encourage us to get the right amount of sleep, eat well, and would challenge us not to smoke or drink. He was so good at spiritualizing his rationale for why we should take good care of our bodies. It made a lot of sense to the young me, trying to find out who I was and what I wanted to stand for as a person.

Throughout the years I’ve heard the “body as the Lord’s temple” argument used for both good and ill. I just described a way it motivated me in my youth to take good care of myself. I’ve also heard it used as a weapon to inflict pain. My mother was obese, so I have always been sensitive to the plight of those who struggle with their weight. It is amazing the cruelty individuals with a weight problem often must endure. Shaming is often thought to be a good way to motivate people to lose weight. Spiritualized cruelty was used by Christian people to chastise and shame overweight people. One example of this spiritualized cruelty was to accusingly remind an overweight person “that your body is a temple of the Lord,” insinuating that they are failing God by carrying extra weight.

What extraordinary guilt and pain. Not only does an overweight person struggle with the physical discomfort from access weight; not only does the overweight person have to struggle with the murmurs and chides of the insensitive; but now, the person must somehow come to realize their weight is an offense to God Almighty. No wonder so many overweight individuals also struggle with a poor self-image, loneliness, and other emotional pain. 

When you talk about others, always try to respond with empathy and compassion. Shame is a poor motivator. The medical field is finding more and more that weight issues have less to do with a lack of self-control and more to do with a number of physiological and other issues, beyond the control of the person.

Today, pray for people who struggle with their weight. Pray that our society will become more compassionate and respectful of all people. Pray that we will no longer view those who are considered overweight to be ironically, somehow less than. We should be coached up to “treat our bodies as a temple,” affirming and accepting the bodies we were given. We should also be coached up to affirm and accept other people’s bodies as blessed, without rude judgments, or shaming. When we do that, all people will be better able to fulfill God’s call for their lives and do so with happiness and joy.

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