A Place at the Table – 28 – Telescope

Thank You, Lord, for the sacrificial act of Your Son, Jesus. This one act, Father, is more than enough, yet we continue to fall, we continue to strive in wrong directions. Your command is clear: don’t desire what others have. Reset our hearts, Lord, and align our vision with Yours. Show us how to build our lives on the foundation You have established within us, that we would clearly see Your provision and not be afraid. Help us to love one another, even where there is discord. Help us to be brave and have conversations that are hard with people we normally would try to measure our lives against. Help us to see ourselves and others through Your love; help us to be the type of people who respond to hate with love. May the world notice that we live like Paul, completely content in feast or famine. May they encounter You by the way we live our lives. Amen.

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Not the most artistic picture I’ve ever taken, but it captures what today’s devotion spoke to me. A year or so ago, my family and I went to a nature center’s evening event and an astronomy club had set up shop that night. As we came to that part of the center, I saw this telescope and thought, “Wow – that would be awesome to have!” Of course, I already have a really nice telescope that I love to use, but its not as big as and cool and as powerful and it doesn’t have the GPS guided tracking that this one did and…My wife lovingly took my hand and said, “come on – just walk away.” She has had to say that about other places too – the Apple Store, camera stores, etc. I don’t think I am alone in coveting the latest thing. Coveting something that’s bigger and more powerful. Coveting something (like a tablet) that gets impossibly thinner and yet still more powerful. And the list can go on. I remember a sermon I preached a year or so ago that we called “Shiny Happy Objects” when we were preaching on the 10 Commandments. Its so easy to just get drawn into wanting more and more. But, in the midst of that cycle of covetousness, we lose contentedness. We miss Paul’s words in Philippians 4 about being content in all circumstances. We lose having a contentedness in God. I know I can go to those places way too often and way too easily. The other part of this cycle is the impact it has on others that we do not see – the factory workers in Asia who work insane hours to make our devices, the children forced into sweatshops to make the clothes we buy cheaply, the slave labor that is used to mine diamonds or process coffee, the landfills swelling with left-behind gadgets, and here the list can keep going as well. As I type this, I struggle because I try to think of how I can get out of this cycle. I know some of it comes in attempts my family and I make to purchase fair trade items when we are able to – coffee, foods, clothing, and so forth. Being super conscious about recycling and reusing. But again, its not perfect and there is always more that I can do. But it at least has to start with a recognition of this cycle and how easily we fall into coveting more and more.

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