A TALE OF TWO HYMNS
First Thessalonians 5:11
Brothers and Sisters,
To be blunt, I am very busy and stressed. Now, this does not make me unique, special, or even worthy of your pity. In the early weeks of the Autumn and the beginning of the Academic Year, I imagine most of us are quite busy and perhaps also stressed because of it.
To be honest, even though (ironically) all of my work is for the Church, I find myself distracted from having Christ at the heart of my work when I am busy. I tend to focus on “I need to get this done” or “I need to be at this event” and “I need to take care of this and pick up that today because I won’t have time tomorrow.” Again, everything that I busy myself with day by day is for the Church, but the busyness itself is often my focus rather than doing all my work for-Christ. I am distracted from Christ by doing work for-the-busyness.
This brings to mind a very important hymn: Be Thou My Vision; it is based largely on Proverbs 4:20-27 and Ephesians 4:17-32. The whole song is poignant for the situation described, but especially this verse:
Riches I heed not, nor vain empty praise,
Thou my inheritance, now and always,
Thou and Thou only, the first in my heart,
High King of Heaven: my treasure, Thou art.
Based on the Biblical text, the hymn reminds us that money is not our goal, or even important; even having the esteem of our neighbors or the nation is of no value to the Christian. Jesus Christ – Thou and Thou only – is the only valuable goal or achievement; being near to Christ and faithful to Him is all that the Christian finds valuable – my treasure Thou art.
Let’s garner our resolve right now. We’re busy and for most of us the busyness is going to be here for a long while yet. Right now and every time that we get stressed over the coming months, re-focus yourself on the only goal that matters: Jesus Christ yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
Here’s why we make Christ the reason and the center of all we do: our actions have consequences, sure, but more to-the-point, they have a ripple effect. Our actions look and feel different when done for the sake of Christ. Here these great words from verse two of the hymn Come Host of Heaven’s High Dwelling Place:
Surround our lives with faith and love,
That through all nights and days,
When human tongues, from speaking, cease,
Our lives may echo praise.
May our lives be active in faith and echoing in praise.
God be near,