Try, Try Again
By Barrie Fox of Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, England
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. —Romans 8:28 NRSV
There are so many distractions from the God-given beauty of this world. Each morning offers new opportunities and blessings, even when we know the day in question is going to be difficult. Each day offers us the chance to consider anew how Jesus is helping us use our abilities and gifts.
Recently, on a visit to our local library, I looked up again a reference to the English poet, Thomas Gray and his poem “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.” According to records, Gray’s first poem did not satisfy him; he did not like the way it turned out. He produced75 drafts of the poem before he eventually published his final work. That makes me think of some of my church and service efforts!
I’m not suggesting we make more work for ourselves by expecting perfection, but I’m wondering if we always do the best we can. Do we use all our gifts to respond to what God asks of us? Do we respond in the most positive way we can, or do we settle? Are we willing to give as Jesus gave?
Where’er the oak’s thick branches stretch
A broader, browner shade;
Where’er the rude and moss-grown beech
O’er-canopies the glade,
Beside some water’s rushy brink
With me the Muse shall sit, and think
(At ease reclin’d in rustic state)
How vain the ardour of the crowd,
How low, how little are the proud,
How indigent the Great!
—“Ode on the Spring” by Thomas Gray
Prayer for Peace
Creator God, how can we do our best at school, at work, and for loved ones, and not offer our best to you? How can we not see another’s need, and see that is where our time is well-spent?
Spiritual Practice: Honoring God’s Call in My Life
Reflect on God’s call in your life. Begin by prayerfully asking to recall particular moments when you have experienced God’s presence and an invitation to share your gifts. When has God seemed most real in your life? When have you felt disconnected or resistant to God’s call? Reflect on what you did or might do to become reconnected to God. Write in your journal or reflect on how you can develop and share you gifts with others.
Today, God, I will reach deeper and find more of myself to give.