Joy very often tells folks that I am not happy unless I am going 100 M.P.H. with my hair on fire. That is a pretty fair description. But for me, that does not mean I live an exciting life but rather that I am generally focused on doing several mundane things at the same time. I can get a great deal accomplished each day because I am very focused, some would say I am OCD even. Perhaps:D But life, after all, is mostly lived in the mundane lane. It is all of the seemingly little things which due to their familiarity can become boring and taken for granted. So, we become forgetful and perhaps even resentful. We need occasional reminders. This perhaps sheds a bit of light on God’s word to Israel in Deuteronomy 6:4-9:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Why, oh why did God give this command? Simple. God knows His creation and how humans respond. He also knew what was coming next in the lives of the Israelites. The good gifts from God would at first be exciting but then would become familiar and mundane. The consequence would not be pretty
“And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (Deut. 6:10-12)
The first part is simply instructing the nation as to how to keep God in the forefront of their mind and pass on that knowledge to their children. He was to be the center of every aspect of their life. When they teach their children, when they are sitting around at home, when they are walking, working or resting. They had physical reminders on the entry door to their home and on their arm and forehead. Why? They would soon receive a land of plenty. They would have places to live which someone else had built. They would have food, wine, water and olives in abundance which they did not labor for but God used others to prepare for them. At the end of His description of the gifts He was about to give them He gave the caution. Don’t take it for granted and forget Who provided it. But that is the dilemma. What is fresh and new and exciting today soon becomes part of the expected, the everyday the, dare I say it? Mundane.
As a nation we have pretty much done the same thing. Until the last ½ century we had a predominantly Judeo/Christian worldview. That is not to say that most were Christians but there was an essentially Judeo/Christian morality and recognition that God was overseeing the affairs of the nation. Atheists could be atheist, disagree with people of faith and still be respected and free to hold their views. Christians and Jews didn’t agree but generally respected one another’s traditions. That seems to be less so today. I am not sure if we are a more antagonistic and adversarial society today or if it only seems so because of the advent of the 24 hours news cycle on both liberal and conservative television and radio. The rhetoric is certainly racheted up between Christians and non-Christians at this time of year. However, as I think on God’s words in Deuteronomy, I think I need to continually remind myself Who is at the center of my life. This is the time of year Christians celebrate the time in history when God incarnated in human form. It has become so familiar to so many that it seems trite and mundane. But it is really quite profound. The God of the universe, the One who created all that exists from nothing by speaking it into existence made Himself vulnerable in the form of a new born infant. Now that is something to talk about when I am walking, eating, working, resting, spending time with my kids and grandkids. As that truth captivates my entire being I become more grateful because there is a greater realization about the good gifts God has given to me. Giving a good defense for the faith is important but if we are not careful we can become distracted and relegate thankfulness and worship to mundane tasks to be accomplished and in a way, for all practical purposes forget God. Ah, I think a dose of Handel’s Messiah will be helpful right about now:D