Once I ate an earthworm. It was part of an ecology class I was taking. But my first memory of an earthworm is from many years prior to that; as a five-year-old, I found a worm on the ground and decided to make it my buddy. I handled it for quite a while before laying it back down in the dust so he could go home. When the limp, dry, over-handled worm didn’t have the strength to crawl back into the ground, I was delighted–convinced he was sticking around because he like me as much as I liked him. I had truly found a loyal friend. Now that’s devotion.
Recently I was listening to a sermon on Devotion. It was one of those sermons where you nod along politely, all the while thinking to yourself “Duh. Duh. And…duh. If I had known we were going to talk about the obvious, I coulda got up there and done a fine three-minute sermon myself and said the same thing.”
And, following that theme, I really don’t remember much of what was said. The one paragraph I do remember (albiet in paraphrase form) was “You can’t be devoted to 19 things. You can’t be devoted to 15 things. You can’t be devoted to 12 or nine or seven. We could argue about five, but it really comes down to the fact that you can only really be devoted to a max of three things.”
Pretty obvious, right? And not only obvious, but incredibly vague. I mean, my next thought process was thinking of how I could technically be devoted only to three things, while actually being devoted to 19. For instance *spoken in a pious, deep voice*, “I’m devoted to God, to myself, and to other people.” Three things, right? But, psych!!, that actually covers everything!
Needless to say, I didn’t think this sermon was doing anything for me. But, what gets me every time is how God can take something that I bashed, something that I thought was stupidly obvious, something that I even toyed with to see how much I could twist it, and still haunt me with its truth!
Now this idea of devotion has been on my mind for weeks. And it’s become very concrete in different areas of my life. For example, I love the people at Camp Timber-lee. I do. And I want to get to know each amazing person individually. But I’ve also found that when I try to get close with everyone, I get spread too thin and I can’t have a sincere relationship with anyone.
Also, I’m an adult. I want to try so many different things! I want to join a Bible study, get involved in community choir, help with AWANA, start an Ultimate Frisbee club, learn Spanish with native speakers, read lots of books, grow exponentially in my artistic skills, get back into piano, babysit kids, volunteer with other departments on grounds, etc.
None of these are bad. In fact, arguably all of these are great. Hence my issue.
But until I narrow down what I want to be devoted to, I’m halfheartedly (and frustratedly) pursuing a wild assortment of hobbies that are stressful more than empowering.
I could say more. But I don’t think I need to. I mean, this concept is kinda obvious. 😉
As I’ve noted before, sometimes we need to be reminded of the obvious. And sometimes God uses what we thought was plain as day to haunt our minds and change our actions. I’m humbled.
What are you devoted to? When is the last time you intentionally made a decision about your devotions? How do you keep this concept in your working memory?