Recently I wrote a post for the Moms at Hope blog & really loved how God challenged the mess out of me as I processed all I have been learning. Thought you all would like to read an excerpt of that post;) Here ya go….
A few years back Tommy and I decided to go on a European adventure before we began our journey as parents. This was one of my favorite pictures of that trip. I’m not really sure why. I have pictures of the Vatican and coliseum and those cute little gondolas you ride on a romantic “after dinner splurge”… but this picture has always stuck with me. I think it’s the simplicity… the focus and ease of it all. It’s just Tommy and I looking at the some pretty incredible scenery, on a random bench, while in Switzerland taking in our time together. Simple.
Actually, we almost didn’t get this picture. And to be 100 percent honest, it wasn’t even my idea; it was my sister-in-law’s. She’s got a good eye for photo ops. It just happened as we all were hiking, talking, and F U L L Y taking in one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen. It was one of the most “fully present” moments of my life.
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the early church. About how they lived, loved, and impacted their community.
During my time in seminary, one of my favorite classes was Introduction to New Testament. I partially loved this class because of the teacher– she was insanely gifted and really made the New Testament come alive for me. But really I loved this class because I got to look at the life of Jesus and the early church in a completely new light.
I saw how radically different AND irresistible the early church was.
I saw how the church was the ONLY place (during this time) where people, who had nothing in common, would come together, share a meal, and really just hang out.
And that uniqueness, that diversity, that love & respect– is partially what got people so excited and curious about the church. About Jesus. About the gospel.
I mean seriously, people couldn’t get enough of it.
There were tax collectors, rabbis, prostitutes, children, women, slaves, and fisherman who’s LIVES were being changed…. And they, in turn, were changing other people’s lives. It was an irresistible movement.
And not only was there excitement and diversity and unity… but there was D E V O T I O N.
They were committed to the cause AND to each other.
I just love the beautiful depiction of the early church in Acts 2:42-43.
They DEVOTED themselves to this website the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.
The early church was DEVOTED to learning and fellowship and prayer. The word “devoted” literally means: “to concentrate on a particular pursuit, occupation, purpose, or cause.”
Meaning… the early church was DEVOTED, focused, concentrated on pursuing and maintaining knowledge, fellowship, and prayer.
They were DEVOTED to it.
So often I feel like I am more “divided” than “devoted.”
I am divided into a million little tasks and plans for the day. Divided into lunches and dinners; work schedules and nap schedules; meetings and grocery shopping and cleaning the house… divided.
And so the things that need my full [D E V O T I O N] get lost in the mix of my divided heart.
Things like being DEVOTED in my time alone with the Lord. Or being DEVOTED in my time with my girls & husband & family & friends. D E V O T I O N.
But what if I had a devoted heart instead of a divided one?
What if I took on less to be devoted to more?
In the Acts passage, right after it says the early church was DEVOTED, it follows it up with, “Everyone was filled with AWE at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.”
Their devotion caused AWE. It caused miracles. It caused lives to be changed.
We live in a world that says “more is more” and well “less is less.” The more you take on, the better you become. The harder you work, the greater you’ll be.
The less you do, the worse you’ll become. A slow life is a boring life.
Busy is god and less is for the weak.
I’m starting the feel like “busy” is the new normal (and expected) response when asked, “how are things?”
But what if we were less busy and more devoted?
Less divided and more devoted?
What would our lives… our souls look like?
I can’t help but be challenged, time and time again, when I read the scriptures and see that God doesn’t use the greatest, most qualified people to do his work…. He uses the DEVOTED people.
The people devoted to seeking and following after his heart.
And ultimately that’s my hope and prayer every day… that God uses me. That he causes [AWE] through my simple, ordinary little life.
& So my challenge this week is this:
more devotion, less division.
I want to focus on devoting myself, my heart, to a FEW things and begin saying “no” to the stuff that divides, that distracts… that keeps my soul from tuning in to God & the life I so desperately desire to be devoted to.