Friday, February 10, 2006

Romans 13:1-14

In this passage Paul admonishes his readers to "wake up." The author of the paraphrase The Message puts it this way; "don't get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God" (v. 11).

When stated this way, this jumped out at me. Paul inserts a list of sins to avoid, which I tend to skim over, thinking I wouldn't even know how to do some of those sins. (I could manage dissension and jealousy most easily, and I am fooling myself if I think I couldn't figure out the others). However, Jesus knows that we humans tend to doze off from exhaustion.

Jesus preaches about our "drowsiness" in the parable of the sower in Luke 8. The "seed," which is the good news of the kingdom, is planted, but some people are choked by "the cares and riches and pleasures of life" (v.14). We have so many blessings in this life that it's possible to be overrun by them, like a garden with weeds.

However, one thing I am thankful for is the chance I have to first of all, listen to God when I feel "overrun," and secondly to find time for God to refresh my spirit.
For me this refreshment comes most easily by being outdoors. Since I work indoors being outdoors brings me directly to the presence of God. Perhaps I just feel thankful to be able to hear the sounds of birds and water. Mental weed-whacking is what it feels like, and that choked feeling disappears.

Paul also sums up the Law by saying, you have a huge debt to love each other (v. 8). A debt is an obligation, and while I don't feel like people should have a debt to love me, I am so thankful for the love of friends and family.

Peace to you, my family.

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