Sunday, October 31, 2010

Staying awake


Through the Bible in 90 Days: Day 70

Read: Matthew 16:1-26:56

Verse that stood out:
"Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak" Matthew 26:40-41.

In my office hangs this painting from the Chinese artist He Qi. I like it for a number of reasons. One, it reminds me of my fecklessness. I realize that's a weird thing to want to be reminded of, but we're all so good at self deception. My job makes it easy for me to pretend like I'm focused on the things of the kingdom. When it comes down to it, though, most of my day is spent in a self-centered stupor. I struggle to live out the kingdom's mandates in the simplest of tasks. I have trouble staying awake - to the person next to me, to what God is doing in me, to what God might want from me. I'm asleep more often than I care to admit.

But He Qi's work also reminds me of Christ's faithfulness in the middle of my faithlessness. My inattentiveness stands in contrast to his attentiveness. My selfishness stands in contrast to his selflessness. I want to stay awake but can't, my flesh is so weak. He wants to give up the cup that is his, but won't, his love is so strong.

In the painting, Christ's eyes are focused upon the heavens. His thoughts centered not on his own will, but on the will of the Father. When I finally awake, my eyes find his, and are redirected, off of myself, and once more on the task at hand. I join his prayer, "Not my will, Lord, but thine, be done."

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