Sunday, March 06, 2011

Thankful Thoughts...

What inspired me this week?

It was one of those March days 
when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold:  
when it is summer in the light, 
and winter in the shade.
~Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens must have been thinking about March in Colorado when he wrote those lines.  Colorado is full of weather-related contradictions in the spring. They say if you don't like the weather in the Rocky Mountains just wait five minutes and it will change. That is never as true as it is in March. Last week I caught a glimpse of sun-filled days to come, and it was inspiring. It gave me the promise of crystal blue skies, puffy white clouds, green grass and budding trees. Inspiration manifested in organic form!

What moved me this week?

I had an epiphany this week that I'd like to share. The last few days I've been studying some chapters in the New Testament - Matthew 6 and 7 - commonly referred to as The Sermon on the Mount. Last week in my studies of earlier chapters in Matthew, I began to understand something I had never before realized --  that The Sermon on the Mount did not introduce quiet philosophical platitudes, but stark, attention-grabbing principles not previously known or understood among His people. As Jesus taught this sermon he proposed life-changing standards that if applied in the lives of his followers would alter their characters and draw them closer to God. 

This week as I studied chapters 6 and 7 I realized that Christ introduced another new principle: "It's not enough to do the right thing, but the Lord requires us to do the right thing for the right reason." (I'm sure that can be said more eloquently, but that's my simplified version.) Jesus gave examples of what it "looked like" to do good things for the right reasons and the wrong reasons. As I read the chapter I began to question and analyze my motivation for performing acts of service and kindness. It lead to some interesting self-examination. Unfortunately, sometimes I came up wanting. This realization moved me to want to improve and do better -- especially when I came to this promise at the end of chapter 7.

24  Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man which built his house upon a rock:
25  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon the house; and it fell not:for it was founded upon a rock.  

The promise states that if I implement the principles taught in The Sermon on the Mount, I will be strengthened so I can more easily withstand the trials, difficulties and heartaches of life, and in the end I will be found well-grounded in my faith in Jesus Christ. I am moved by that promise and assurance, which impels me to want to do better.