Anyone who knows the Mayo family knows we’ve become progressively more minimal over the last 8 years. Cutting down on our belongings has been freeing in so many ways, especially now that we are packing to move across the country! When our shipping POD arrived, I honestly felt like it would be too big for our stuff. I’m sure once we begin moving boxes and furniture though, it will fill up fast. As more-minimal people, we don’t “collect” many things. In the past, I had my collection of Transformers and Lea had her Eiffel-tower-everything. And books! We’ve both been hoarders of books. But over time, we’ve let things go… even books! While we have minimized in so many areas, we still collect patches. This was a trendy collectible among our peer group during our university summer abroad. We all bought patches to represent the different places we visited and then we would sit around reminiscing and showing off our patches. Some of our friends sewed them on their backpacks, some glued them in albums. Lea and I just kept ours in an envelope. Recently, she bought a flat display box and started layering our patches in it. Europe, our various stateside adventures, Mexico, Canada. All our many adventures are represented in that box and we can take them out anytime to look at them and reminisce.
I wonder if our treasures in heaven are like our collection of patches. I don’t have such a low opinion of God to think that our heavenly treasures are silver or gold or even a “mansion over the hilltop.” I wonder if the treasures we lay up for ourselves in heaven are the memories of every good deed, every beloved friend, every beautiful adventure. If they are, then I know that each year I’ve spent at this congregation, and each one of you loved ones, will be a treasure to cherish for eternity.
Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys…
Selling a house is hard work! And I don’t just mean painting, and packing, and repairs… It’s hard work because it feels like we are continually on display. I guess we are. At any moment, our realtor can say she’s bringing absolute strangers to come analyze every room of our house. Even the closets are open to view! It feels so vulnerable knowing everyone can see everything you own. “Did he stack the dishwasher like his wife asked?” “He left his towel on the bathroom floor!” So when our realtor calls, it’s a dash to make everything perfect. Every flaw matters.
We live our lives like this too sometimes, don’t we? On the outside, or in any aspect people can see, we try to be perfect. Or at least “fine.” We don’t want anyone prying in to the broken parts of us. We don’t anyone peeking in at the hurt, angry, flawed parts of us.
This isn’t the abundant life Christ promised! We should be living lives of authenticity… lives where we share the brokenness and are accepted as we work to live in wholeness… lives where we share the hurt and ask for help to heal it.
Our realtor is at my house for an “open house” today. She invited every random stranger to wander through every room. And it’s hard because we are protective of our privacy. As you make changes to your life to be open, transparent, authentic, and to truly “do life” together as Jesus did with his disciples… It will be strange and uncomfortable, too. But it is a necessary part of the Christian walk. It’s one I’ve not always excelled at.
Tell your sins to each other. And pray for each other so you may be healed. The prayer from the heart of a man right with God has much power. James 5:16
Cleaning is not fun. Packing – also not fun. Hiring roofers, painters, electricians. Definitely not fun. The last few weeks have been a flurry of not-fun activity at the Mayo house. After each task is completed, Lea and I stand back and marvel over it. Why didn’t we do this years ago? Why did we keep procrastinating? Sure, completely emptying the utility room, repairing the damaged drywall, painting, and putting down new baseboard was a LOT of work… the results are clearly worth it!
The hard work is worth it.
This is our mantra through packing, selling our home, driving across the country, and starting a new ministry in a new place. The hard work is worth it.
It’s a mantra I encourage each of you here to adopt as well. You are in God’s steady hands. And you ARE God’s steady hands as well. Yours are the hands to build the kingdom, to serve the poor, to minister to the lost. Yours are hands ready for hard work. And the hard work is worth it.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord… Colossians 3:23
You know what bugs me? Following people. I’d much rather type the address into Maps on my phone and let Siri navigate! Lea and I were out with a big group in multiple vehicles and I wasn’t quite sure where we were going. Traffic was kind of heavy and we momentarily lost sight of the group. “We’re following the guy with the cross,” I said, referencing the decal on the back of the truck.
Following the guy with the cross… I thought about that later. Sometimes we can get so distracted in life, can’t we? There are bills to pay, football games to watch, chores to do. There are a million big and little thing things in this world vying for our attention. And it’s way too easy to start following people. A friend, a coach, a teacher, a loved one, even a preacher. And all those people and all those things can have their space in our life, so long as we are following the guy with the cross.
Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
It’s that time of year again! The air begins to crisp. The leaves begin to show off their colors. Well, not in Florida, but in other places. We can use our imaginations! But we really know the season is changing when we start to see Pumpkin Spice… pumpkin spice everything! We’ll drink pumpkin spice lattes and eat pumpkin spice scones. Trader Joe will have every imaginable beverage and snack spiced up with pumpkin. Pumpkin spice will be all the rage for a few weeks. And then it will be gone… Remembered fondly from time to time, but mostly set aside in favor of some other flavor of the week. Some things aren’t made to last.
Jesus told a story like this in Matthew 13. The farmer sowed the seeds and some landed on the rocky soil. The plants grew swiftly but couldn’t last because the soil was shallow and the sun was hot. The roots needed the substance of deep, nutritious earth to support the quick-growing plant. Without it, life was short. Some things aren’t made to last.
But some things are made to last! We are made to last forever, and we have goals and a purpose to match. So, we need a faith that will last, as well. We need a deep faith that will last through the daily struggles of life. We need faith that is deeper than our struggles… Because our purpose can’t be achieved in a weekend or a season.
Our faith can be like pumpkin spice or like the plants in the rocky soil, in-your-face, swift, flamboyant… and not made to last. Let’s aim instead for a faith that is steady and deep, with rewards that will last forever.
My little family went to Seattle last week for a much-needed vacation. We saw waterfalls and lavender fields, deep green forests and majestic mountains… and we saw A LOT of the inside of an airplane! The beautiful Pacific Northwest was a treat; the long, long journey there was NOT. We were cramped up in our tiny airplane seats, Windsor strapped into her car seat between us for hours… and hours and hours… We were sleepy, hungry, sore, and grumpy. We made the best we could of the journey, listening to music and watching movies and eating snacks, but it was uncomfortable. At moments, it was downright miserable!
How like life! Sometimes the journey of life is downright miserable. Sometimes we are doing our best, just slogging through the difficult times, making the best of a less than comfortable situation. I made it through that long airplane ride because I was focused on my family beside me. I needed to be tough for them. I needed to be as optimistic as I could be. And I also knew at the end of it, there would be rest. On the days that seem to never end, please remember your church family surrounds you, ready to help you bear your burdens… the hard times won’t last forever even in this earthly life… and when the earthly life is done, eternity with God awaits.
I read a quote this week that encouraged me. “God isn’t behind me, yelling, ‘Go!’ He’s ahead of me bidding, ‘Come!’ He’s in front, clearing the path and cutting the brush. Standing next to the rocks, He warns, ‘Watch your step there.'”
In a time of so much uncertainty, it’s comforting to know that God walks ahead of each and every one of us. He offers no magical solution to our problems, no miraculous resolution to our earthly concerns, but He strides along just ahead… We can know the future is nothing to fear when He is already there. I think this is the comfort David must have felt when he wrote the Shepherd Psalm. “He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…” Psalm 23:3-4 David well-knew that trouble was ahead. Trouble was all around for him. But he also knew God was ahead as well as all around him.
The world is a scary place on the world stage, the national stage, perhaps even on your personal stage. You are not alone. God goes ahead and your church family walks alongside you.