Saturday, March 22, 2014

More precious than jewels....Lenten Journey Day 15 Devotional - March 21, 2014

"Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter:
whoever finds one has found a treasure.
Faithful friends are beyond price;
no amount can balance their worth
-Sirach 6:14-16

Today my mom kidnapped me and took me away to San Diego for the weekend. 
Ok….”kidnapped” is a strong word.  When you think of San Diego, I doubt a whole lot of suffering comes to mind but getting me to take a break from my “to do” list does at times require hostile force. 

I’m thankful for her insistence.  It was a much needed getaway. 

As we arrived I didn’t know what to expect, but our laughter and quality conversations on the drive down warmed my heart and had me looking forward to what was in store.  I’d missed having these moments.

After enjoying some fresh air and walking around the area, we returned to our rental and my mom pulled out a bag of nail polish and some other pampering items. 

“When’s the last time you did your own nails?” my mom teased.  Admittedly, it’s been a long time and judging from the results - which I can only describe Picasso-ish- I’m VERY rusty. 

We were in the middle of our “do-it-yourself” spa time when the doorbell rang.  To my absolute delight, my best friend from Phoenix was standing at the door!  She had driven out to surprise me and spend the weekend with us.  But then it got better as she presented me with a gift.  She pulled out a book she had bound and made for me.  Her and my mother had been sneaking around collaborating in creating this gift.  The result was a book that included pictures and letters from various loved ones, each writing personal notes to me of memories, love, and encouragement.  Tears fell down my eyes as I read their words. 

I ran my fingers across the words on each page.  I could feel the imprint of the lettering and, even more importantly, the heartfelt sincerity of their words. 

I wish that I could fully express how this gift made me feel.  How right on time it was for me to receive.
When you lose your job you can experience a bit of an identity crisis.  Having the momentum of a successful career come to a screeching halt can seriously shock the system.  One moment you have this steady stream of success, financial security, and everyday luxuries, the next moment circumstances turn off the faucet. 

Who am I now?

I used to be defined by what I “did”, but that disappeared in the blink of an eye.
As I held the book my friend gave me close to my chest, the warmth of the words touched my spirit.
As I held the book, I was given an answer to that question.

Who am I?
Even without a fancy job title, I am dearly loved.
Even without a position on an organizational chart, I hold a special place in the hearts of many and I am the object of an enormous amount of love and admiration.
I am one that God can use; not because of the size of my bank account or how much money I spend, but because I am endowed with an immeasurable amount of resources, the fruits of the spirit, to invest in others (Galatians 5:22).
I am one who has been blessed with a limitless amount of love back.

Who am I?

I am someone who is so very rich, in all the ways that matter.

Who are you?

You are one that can say the same.

We can spend our whole life chasing earthly things and ignore the wealth we have in the form of the people around us.

In Ecclesiastes 2:1: Solomon came to this conclusion,

But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless--like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.

As he goes on further lamenting, he finally concludes that the only thing that gives these things meaning are the relationships one has (See Ecclesiastes 4:7-12).

Love is our greatest treasure.

I know this for certain.  Because there have certainly been more financially prosperous times in my life, but as I write this to you I feel so extremely blessed by the people God has placed in my life.  That includes YOU!

I wouldn’t trade these moments for anything.

And that is something that money can’t buy.

Let’s pray:  God, thank you for the friendships and relationships you have blessed us with.  We know that you have placed each person around us in our lives for a reason.  Help us to be better stewards of the relationships we have.  Let us cherish our family members, neighbors, colleagues, friends, and all those around us as you cherish us. Provide us with the grace and wisdom necessary to navigate these relationships and be an extension of Your love in their lives.  In Jesus name, Amen.

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