First United Methodist Church

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Devotion from Steve Thomas, Connect Groups Chair (Aug. 18)

“Today is the day the Lord has made. Let us Rejoice and be Glad in it!” Psalm 118:24

My family loves this verse and we use it quite often when greeting each other. The verse in the photo was made for me by my wife Mia and sits on a small easel on my desk and I reflect on it daily. And that is a good thing! This psalm is special to me as it reminds me that every day is special as it is a gift from God – who made that day specially for us. And it reminds me to REJOICE and BE GLAD in the day. Celebrate each day. Be Joyful.

You may know that Mia & I love to go to the beach. Sitting under an umbrella, listening to the crash of the waves and reading a book is one of my “happy places”. Mia and I also like to walk along the shore and look for shells.

Recently, while walking along the beach I saw a half-buried shell and, deciding it wasn’t a “keeper”, I kept walking. But then something made me stop. I went back and picked it out of the sand and cleaned it off in the water. I was stunned to find a beautiful shell – the nicest that I had found in quite a while.

Finding that shell made me think. Do I take the time to look at all the half-buried shells in my life? Do I take the time to see the goodness in everything? In everyone? What was I missing?

And then I wondered whether others who are living through these challenging times during a pandemic and unrest seeing just a half-buried shell. It makes you wonder.

There is a quote from the movie Evan Almighty that I really like:

Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, do you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If they pray for courage, does God give them courage, or does he give them opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for their family to be closer, you think God zaps them with warm, fuzzy feelings? Or does he give them opportunities to love each other?”

Are the struggles our Country, our Community and our church face an issue – a half-buried shell? Or is this time an “opportunity” for all of us to shine? To care for others? To make the extra effort?

We are directed quite clearly in John 13:34-35 – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

So … Is today the day you look again and see that beautiful shell?

Is today the day you truly love your neighbor?

Is today the day that you make a difference in someone’s life that REALLY needs it?

I know that I am going to try. I am going to look at every shell. I pray that you do to.

Today IS the day the Lord has made! I hope that you Rejoice and be Glad in it.