Monday, April 20, 2015

Life in Meekdom (Devotional) By Ron Shackelford

“The meek and lowly are fortunate, for the whole wide world belongs to them.”     Mt. 5:5 L.B.

Our culture says the world belongs to aggressive types who possess things, like stock certificates. How is it possible for the non-aggressive folks, whom Jesus calls “lowly” and gentle, to authentically claim ownership of “the whole wide world?”      

The lowly meek are not weak,
It’s a different world they seek.            


Their different world starts with a pivotal shift: a more aggressive focus upon the ability to enjoy God's gift of the natural world, and lesser preoccupation with material things. I realized enjoyment has no correlation with ownership one day as I drove through the majestic California redwoods. Basking in their refreshing, dark green beauty and luxuriating in their sweet fragrance, I smiled as the realization hit me. The status of being a billionaire, or an average Joe, is irrelevant to the depth of joy available along the Highway of Giants. Or, for that matter, while walking around the block. Either journey can take a “fortunate” person into a pleasurable and beautiful place, if one decides he doesn’t have to own it to appreciate it.

To highly covet ownership of material things can, at times, become a distraction. This focus can become what Augustine defined as sin: “a twisting of that which is good.” Ninety-five percent of these ancient and almost sacred redwoods were cut down by loggers who looked at them and saw only dollars. The Sierra Club preserved for future generations the remaining five percent, displaying both a “meek” and very wise stewardship of the sacred. To paraphrase John Muir:

Everyone needs beauty as well as bread,        

Away from the hectic pace of a race
To breathe fresh air before lying in bed.         

A soul nestles into its rightful place.  

Once I decided my level of owning things was quite enough, I was transformed and transported. Where? Into the “fortunate” and grateful live-style of a citizen living in meekdom:

Where the greed for material things fair
Evaporates like mist in the air.
Where anxious dreams disappear from sight,
And serene souls slumber in stillness of night.                R.S.

Living in meekdom fosters finding the good in things or people currently around you rather than hoping for happiness at some future date. For example, after a busy Sunday morning as a minister in Seattle, in the afternoon I would engage in the gentle, subtle skill of “letting the environment minister to me.” If it was summer, I'd “let” the sun beat down on my face, relish its bright warmth, and whisper, “That feels so good.” If it was a damp winter afternoon, I was tempted to grumble, but often I’d jog on the wet neighborhood streets, saying “I’ll let the environment minister to me.” As my body heated from running, the moist, damp air cooled it. Shifting from sweatshirt to T-shirt, I would sincerely, and sometimes surprisingly, say, “Thanks, Lord. This brisk air is actually quite invigorating.” 

Take a walk through your local neighborhood soon. Appreciatively let the clean air and trees clear your mind and refresh your spirit. Live in an urban setting? Find a park. Instead of looking for a stock market tip to make your future happier, make a resolve to find God’s gift of treasures around you today.

Jesus is right, life in meekdom is great. I feel more and more fortunate every day.

Decision for the Day
To regularly walk or find a favorite place to "let" this whole wide wonderful world "minister to me."   

Positive Thought
God is as close as I make Him. A thankful spirit for nature makes Him closer wherever “one lives.”

About the Author: Ron Shackelford is a pastor (Honorably Retired) and licensed marriage and family therapist. He is the author of Married to an Opposite: Making Personality Differences Work For You. Other devotionals on this blog by Ron include The Vulnerable Bible, The Learning ManMoved By Joy and Tomorrow's Troubles.

1 comment:

  1. Ron: Your meditations, including this one, are inspiring to me. Your combinations of lighthearted observations, witticisms, poetry, and scripture are wonderful. Thank you for your Spirit-filled productivity.


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