Written by Jennie Brackett
Scripture to Read: Philippians 2:12-18
During this time of pandemic, I have probably spent more time than I should on social media. I tend to be on Facebook, while the rest of my family has their favorite social media outlets as well. The other day, I saw a meme that comes to mind as I read today’s verses in Philippians 2. While I don’t remember the words exactly, it talked about how much we are all like kindergartners, especially as the time drags on in our current situation. We are like kindergartners in that we can have something explained to us, in very explicit detail, a goal we are supposed to meet. Yet, as soon as we are released to our own devices, we run around like crazy, doing what we want, and eventually have to be called back to the carpet to be brought back to a single purpose. Do we follow the rules that have been laid out for us, very clearly, when we step away from the carpet circle, which could metaphorically be our church? These verses also make me think of something that was drummed into my head as a child, and is still the case for me as an adult. Whenever I would go on any major trip – be it with school, 4-H, or whatever activity I was involved with at the moment, or now, as a conference for work – the message is to ‘remember who you are, and who you represent.’ At the time, it was those particular organizations. But it is applicable here as well. Who do you represent in your everyday life? Do you represent Christ in a way that is honorable?
Paul talks in verse fourteen about doing everything without complaining or arguing. No one likes to be around a whiner. I live with three teenagers – whining, complaining, and arguing are par for the course, on a daily basis. Log into social media, whatever your favorite source, and look at how much of that is complaining. These negative thoughts tarnish our view and draw us into a world of disobedience, In our posts, tweets, blogs, and other places we publicly represent ourselves, as well as in our everyday lives, we should reflect light, not negativity. Aren’t we all drawn to shiny things anyway? Why are we allowing our lives to be filled with and reflect the negativity?
My husband has taken up running. Kudos to him for taking up a goal and sticking with it. His goal is to run 366 miles this year – one for each day; though often he will run five miles in a day. Recently, he has decided to run five days a week, different lengths each day. Sometimes he will come back from a run elated that it felt really productive, and then there are days like today when he comes back feeling completely defeated. Sometimes he will lament that the whole thing seems pointless. He isn’t seeing the physical effects he had hoped. Aren’t we all a little like this? Complaining, like Paul is discussing in these verses? Frustrated, because things aren’t going as we had hoped? Which leads to more complaining. However, in verse sixteen, Paul talks about holding firmly to the word of life and when Christ returns, being happy that he had run the race. The running my husband does is frustrating, hard, and often draining. But he has also talked about this euphoria that he gets when he finishes a run. Not only are there positive physical effects, but the long run has given him a chance to have peace with himself, to build up his health, and all of the other unseen benefits. The self-motivation he has, to do what is right, is paying dividends. So, as we go about our day, let us do so, representing who Jesus is – not a complainer or a whiner, but as someone who, even though the fruits of our labor can’t necessarily be seen, knows that progress is definitely happening.