Devotional article for The Greybull Standard
and The Republican Rustler
Towards the End of Summer ...
Summer has gone by fast this year. Well, I am very much aware that summer is not quite over yet; I am reminded whenever I venture outside of the gentle shelter provided by modern indoor amenities. But summer is not at its early stages, either, and that is where I was ready for it to be. I have had a lot of major blockages in my calendar this year; those events that prevent you from engaging in anything else out of the ordinary until they are over with. So it is not too long ago that I stopped feeling like a spectator to life. And, much to my surprise, I found that life had not stopped to wait for me in the meantime. Reality has had the audacity to go on without me!
There are lessons to learn here, I am sure; something about how short life is. Although I am not quite sure what that means. I have reached the age by now, when it has actually occurred to me that this life might not last forever. However, as I recall it, when I was a child, my childhood seemed to drag along slowly enough ...
Obviously, though, compared to eternity, life is no more than a fleeting breath - as Holy Scripture also says it - but I am not sure what to do with that particular piece of knowledge. Perhaps a more important lesson to learn would regard my own importance: although, from my own personal perspective, I might seem the absolute centre of all things, I really am not. The world does not stop to wait for me.
One day I will be gone from this world, and unless our Lord Jesus comes in glory before then, the world will go on without me - like this summer has - and probably do about just as well without me as when I was still around.
More importantly: although I am the centre of my own world, I really cannot expect to be the centre of everybody else's. I cannot expect the lives of everybody else to be all about me. And I should not act as if I were the only one on the road when I am driving, as if speed limits and turn signals and rear view mirrors were not put there also for my use, in order for me not to be a burden to others, keeping them from getting to where they are going, and getting to do what they have to do. Nor should I act in other areas of life as if my convenience were more important than the needs of others. Of course there is that positive thing about such selfishness, that it might make the world a little happier when I am no longer there. But still ...
"In humility count others more significant than yourselves", says Holy Scripture. Now, obviously this might only give meaning to those who know the love of Christ. But from all decent people it is reasonable to expect that they acknowledge the needs of others as no less important than my own convenience. In fact, that is part of what it means to be a decent person to begin with, is it not?
In another perspective, however, the love of Christ speaks about my tremendous significance. It was out of love for me the Son of God suffered and died. He who is Lord of all things gave all for my salvation, and still steers all things for this great purpose of His. To God I am anything but insignificant; that should have some significance to me. Knowing that, I should be able to live with not being that much more important than others - and even with most of summer having passed me by when I was not looking - like so much else in life does.
Pastor Jais H. Tinglund
Grace Lutheran Church, Greybull/Zion Lutheran Church, Emblem