2016: Page 118

Today’s page followed a night when I finally got some uninterrupted sleep from the time my head hit the pillow last night until just before my alarm went off this morning.  With a mind and body that has been trained for early morning work, most mornings I find myself awake by 5:30 even before the alarm goes off.  After the morning cleaning and building prep, I headed out to begin the week’s mowing.  Mowing the lawn areas that border the parking lots is much easier if I get it done before people start arriving for the day.  It is also less distracting to the students if I can get the mowing done outside the classroom windows before the school day starts.  Today that meant mowing in the chilly pre-dawn hours under an overcast sky that never really brightened much the entire day.  Eventually the cold air got to me and I headed inside to warm up with some coffee and to continue some writing.  

When my work day came to a close, I grabbed a late lunch and headed down to Potato Creek for a photography hike.  With an overcast sky and cool weather I decided to walk completely around the lake.  My phone evidently had some GPS reception issues because while it was timing my hike from the beginning, it didn’t actually start recording the path and distance until 2 miles into the walk.  So, what is normally about an 8 mile hike shows up as 6 miles with a terrible pace.  While the overcast sky made the day not so great for photos, it was a beautiful afternoon for a hike as the entire route was accompanied by a magnificent symphony of birds.  After making it around the lake, I drove over to the east end of the lake to see if the bald eagle had come out for his evening fishing expedition.  Sure enough, he was perched in a tree waiting for me to snap some photos before he headed home for the evening.

God calls us to speak and live in such a way that our words and actions benefit others according to their needs.  While such a directive from God seems clear and straightforward, it is so contradictory to our human nature that we readily come up with excuses as to why the needs of others are less important than our own.  If we do things for the benefit of others, who looks out for us?  We know where we are headed but we want to make sure we receive the credit for every effort we put forth.  It has often been said that most groups of people would be amazed at what could actually be accomplished if each person in the group didn’t care who got the credit for the good being done.  When we make it a point to look out for the good of others, we also learn that there is greater satisfaction to be had in serving others than in seeking your own glory.  If our goal as Christ-followers is to help others come to know Him, then it is Christ we must lift up and make visible in the way we interact with others.

As I take, and make, time to enjoy hikes and walks throughout various parks and outdoor spaces, I discover that God has set the example of giving according to the needs of those you serve.  The soothing songs of the birds, the beauty of the wildflowers, the majesty of the eagles all reflect God’s goodness and all are His gifts for the benefit and enjoyment of His children.  God’s greatest gift of all was the payment of our sin penalty by sending Jesus for our benefit.

I pray that you and I would continually grow in our pursuit of doing good according to the actual needs of those we serve.  I pray that we would seek God’s help in destroying every root of pride that seeks our own glory and credit.  I pray that we would acknowledge God’s goodness in meeting our greatest need through the blood of His Son, Jesus.  I pray that we would gain great peace and pleasure from the beauty which God surrounds us with according to our need to see a glimpse of His beauty.

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