Hi this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on the first Thursday of the new year…Truths Considered In A Snowbank.
No matter what part of the country you live in, mixed in among all the other Christmas Carols is the familiar line “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”. This year that dream only missed us here in the State of Delaware by about a week. As the snow fell heavily this past Monday piling up at more than an inch an hour it quickly became evident it would not simply be the aesthetic wintry ground covering we have grown accustom to here in the Mid-Atlantic region. It was soon all-too-apparent that what we had on our hands was a beautiful mess that was soon going to need to be cleaned up. Having grown up in the snow-belt of Western New York State I am familiar with snow shoveling. There it is often a chore completed multiple times a week for several months of the year. As the snow fell and blew around, I knew I was soon to engage once again in that undesirable activity I had moved here to avoid.
As I shoveled I found myself having to take many breaks. Some were to spend a moment standing up strait and relieve the pain of my stooped position repeatedly lifting shovel full after shovel full of the snow only to move it 1 or 2 feet to the right or left of where it had been deposited. Sometimes I was finding that the breaks were to catch my breath that my labor seemed to be robing me of. There were times I simply stopped because I was tired and I was awaiting that ‘second wind’ my grandfather Brown used to speak of so often. I’m not sure where he always seemed to get his from, but there in the snow, mine didn’t seem to be appearing all that readily. As I stood there in that snowbank during one of those rest sessions, I began to consider some things.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 from the New Century Version reads as follows: So we do not give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day. We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory that is much greater than the troubles. We set our eyes not on what we see but on what we cannot see. What we see will last only a short time, but what we cannot see will last forever.
As I shoveled snow, both Monday and Tuesday I became acutely aware that my physical body is in fact becoming older and weaker. There was a time it seems, not so long ago when a few hours spent shoveling snow would have been no big deal. Why then was it that as I did so this week it caused every muscle in my back and shoulders to scream out in protest? Why do they revolt and act as if on a sit down strike when I try to walk even yet today? Why? Because this body is made of flesh and bones and it has a definite shelf life. The good news? This old body is not what defines me! It is only the vehicle by which I move through this life. It has a limited usefulness, but what it contains is designed for eternal purposes!
The spirit inside becomes renewed every day. Each day there are new reasons to praise God. Each day is a new day to fulfill our eternal purpose by giving glory to the One who created us. Each day we get to live for the One who died for us. Each new day is a new set of opportunities to become more and more like Jesus. As we walk through this life, troubles abound…snow piles up, but though we need to give the troubles of this world our attention, our focus should be much farther down the road. The difficulties can have our attention in so much that we learn from them what our Heavenly Father desires for us to learn, but our focus is to be on the eternal, where the lessons are preparing us to reside. Heaven is our home, life here on earth is just the path we must travel that readies us to abide there.
I must admit it is easy to forget this truth, and get all caught up in the troubles and trials this life brings. It can be easy to take our focus off what it should be fixed on, and allow it to be swayed to a much shorter, temporal view. We can stare so intently at the problems that they begin to loom large and we lose our spiritually corrected vision. Paul is right to remind us that what we can see with our eyes, this life, and its difficulties, are only short term. What we can’t see with our physical eyes, but only with our eyes of faith, the view there goes on forever! That’s where our home is.
There is another song that I remember hearing and singing many times that restates this truth I was considering in that snowbank…I’ve got a mansion, just over the hilltop. In that bright land where we’ll never grow old. And someday yonder, we will never more wander, but walk on streets that are purest gold!
So now, recognizing and learning from the troubles of today, but keeping your focus firmly on your Heavenly Father’s promises for the future, allow your spirit to be made new each day and…Go be awesome!