|A new appreciation for plain oatmeal!|
Every morning this week we've had a student or staff member who is doing the $2 Challenge write a devotional/reflection and send it to everyone participating, and today was my day. I'm planning on posting more about the experience later, but for now I'll give you the devotion I wrote for today:
Morning 4, can you believe it?!?!
Several weeks ago at church I was teaching in the preschool class. The lesson was about how God sent manna from Heaven for the Israelites to eat, but they complained about it. The story kept coming to my mind this week, and I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe because it was about God providing food, and we’ve talked about how we’re thankful for what God provides. Maybe it was because the Israelites were complaining, and we’ve been complaining. I don’t know why it was on my mind, but it doesn’t really matter why except for the fact that God put it there. So, Wednesday morning while I ate my oatmeal I read the story in Exodus 16.
What stood out to me the most was verses two and three, “In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” These people had been in slavery; they didn’t have freedom and they certainly didn’t have hope. Now they were free, and they wanted to go back to captivity, why? So they could eat the food they wanted! To me, that is so obviously out of whack. Yea, meat and an abundance of food are great, but at the cost of their freedom?
I thought to myself, “Silly Israelites; they just don’t get it.” Then I realized that I am exactly like they are. I too was once in slavery. Romans 6: 6-7 says, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin - because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.” But now, even though I have freedom in Christ, I find myself wanting to go back to slavery. I don’t say that outright, but it’s what do. I find myself desiring to do things that are characteristic of my old nature, when I was a slave to sin. And not only do I find myself desiring to do those things, often I give in and do them.
Now, when I think about myself that way, I’m so obviously out of whack! Why on earth would I desire life as a slave, when I’ve already been given freedom – freedom in Christ! The Israelites gave up an abundance of food, but they gained so much more! We’re called to sacrifice things to live for Christ, but we can gain so much more! We gain the joy of the Lord, we gain intimate fellowship with our Father – our Creator, we gain community with other believers, we gain the freedom that comes with knowing we serve a God that loves us unconditionally. Ultimately, we gain Christ, and nothing is better than that!
I know this devo hasn’t been about rice and beans, or hungry children, hopefully that’s ok. But the questions I want to leave you with are, “What have you gained these past 4 days while sacrificing your normal diet?” and “What is something you are most thankful about gaining when you choose to live for Christ?”
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. Philippians 3:8-9
And I challenge you not to just rush through these last meals today. Savor them, be oh-so-thankful for them!
Love you all!