For those of you with school-aged kids, this is the end of one of the strangest school years ever. For those of you without school-aged kids, do you remember the last day of school? Exchanging numbers, planning get-togethers, hugging, waving, extra recess, small teacher gifts – it was a bitter-sweet day of transition and closure.
This year it may feel another thing 'taken away' from us. It is easy these days – at least for me – to set my eyes on all that has been lost, all the sacrifices my family and I have made and all the fear and anxiety of the world.
As children of God, though, we are called to fix our eyes on him and follow him in steadfast love and faith. Each of today's readings reminds us of that.
In Psalm 78, we see Ephraim turning and running in fear because "they forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them." (Psalm 78:11). The palmist then reminds us of just a few of the many amazing things God had done for them.
In 1 Kings 16 we see a succession of kings come to power and then fall, usually in tragic, horrible ways, often taking many others down with them. The reason for their fall? Sin and evil, which for me, comes a lot easier when I am not focusing on God but on the world.
In 1 Kings 17 and 18 we get to see the rewards of a life focused on God through Elijah. We see his positive effect on others, such as the woman and her son, and the returning of Israel after a miraculous sacrifice. Elijah's God-focused perspective and faithfulness not only saved himself but many others.
In Acts, we are given three more examples:
Thessalonica, who only debated on Sundays, and a mob raised against those there to teach them.
Berea, where they read scripture every day and engaged in thoughtful and focused on the word and teaching.
Lastly, Athens, with idols, and who "spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas" (Acts 17:21b). They didn't even recognize Paul's teachings as being from God.
The main takeaways I got from today's readings were:
1. Keep your eyes on God
2. Don't dwell on the negativity and worldly problems
3. Remember all God has done in your past
May our thoughts be focused on God and all the many amazing times he has worked in our lives.
Congregant, Life Group member, grateful utilizer of Sunday School