I snapped the picture above yesterday morning. It was the view out my front door. I will never tire of seeing the sun rise over fluffy low lying clouds. It’s absolutely beautiful and such a great way to start the day! Later I wrote the bulk of this blog, but for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to post it. I guess maybe because I didn’t love what I wrote. I feel discouraged about how things are going in the world, and yet I have a deep longing to be a super spreader of joy.
Do you remember the character Harriet Oelson from Little House on the Prairie? What words come to mind to describe her? How about Nazi informants? What words do you think describe the type of person who would rat out friends and neighbors to the Gestapo? One word that did not come to mind is happy. In fact, people who are obsessed with what others do or don’t do are never happy. Stop for a minute and think about the busybodies you’ve known in life. Think about the busybodies who have come out of the woodwork in 2020. It’s a foolproof recipe for misery. Why do people willingly engage in behavior that invariably leads to unhappiness?
On the flip side, other-centeredness, when it is not aimed to control, is a path to joy. I just read a sweet letter from one of my Compassion kids in Ethiopia. She asked how it’s going with coronavirus, and how we are doing. She ended her letter with a statement that may not have been ideally translated. Referring to God she said, “Leave all your things on him.” I’m essentially the worst sponsor on the planet. My communications are sporadic, and although we’ve been giving for many years, I have never consistently prayed for my three Compassion kids like I should. I bet I’ve never written her anything so sweet and profound as “Leave all your things on him.”
Do you live by this sage advice? Do you worry about what others think or do? Or do you aim to leave all your things on him? I desperately want my life to be more like the latter, don’t you?
I imagine my sweet Ethiopian friend was referring in part to “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7, but today I read Psalm 49. One takeaway of the Psalm is that “death is inevitable and that, when it comes, we must leave everything behind.” (James Montgomery Boice). So in another sense, we “leave all our things on him” because when we leave this world we can’t take anything with us. Either interpretation works for me.
May I cast all my anxieties on Jesus, and consistently remind myself that only people and God’s Word will last.
P.S. I think what is really dragging me down is how freedom feels less and less valued in our culture. The Bible says it is for freedom that we’ve been set free. But the yokes of government are largely embraced by the masses. What happened? C.S. Lewis said:
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
May we ponder these words in the days ahead and recognize the “moral busybodies” in our midst.