“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4).
Message: It is about this time of year that teachers cross a dangerous path. Quarter one is done, routine sets in, and that spark that ignites at the beginning of the year is all but gone. It is the danger of familiarity. Apathy. We begin to go through the motions and not even think about what we’re doing. We lose sight of the wonders before us. Going through the monotony of the day becomes a dry, meaningless routine. We start counting down the days until the holiday breaks before us, and we miss out on God’s blessings. Life is as dead as the darkness of the night. We clock in. We clock out. We become robots. Lifeless. No heart. And all the while our students are waiting to be inspired.
Our pastor recently addressed this issue in a sermon a few weeks ago. He called it Nazaritis. In Luke 4:14-30 Jesus experienced rejection by the Nazarites, His hometown folk. Here they had the King of Kings in their midst, preaching in the synagogue, and all they could do was question Jesus’ authority. You can hear their whispers. Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? How is this guy all that? Is he really who he says he is? They were too familiar with Jesus. His presence was overlooked. Jesus even called them out, saying, “But I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown” (Luke 4:24). The result of their apathy was not a surprise. After they led Jesus to a hill to push Him off to His death, He escaped and performed very few miracles there.
Isn’t that sad? Before we criticize the Nazarites too much, let us evaluate our own lives. Have you ever been there before? I certainly have. Not too long ago, I found myself faking it. It wasn’t that I didn’t care. I just lost passion. I graded papers on completion, not on content. I talked to students about their lives but never really listened. I even let my Nazaritis slide into my home life, taking my wife and children for granted. Something was missing, and I knew it. That was when the sermon mentioned above jolted me awake. Like ice water doused on an unsuspecting individual, I awoke from my funk. I began to take the advice of my pastor. I began to diligently look for God’s fingerprints throughout my day.
Wonders that I hadn’t noticed before came to life. The beautiful fall leaves outside. The glory of a sunrise on the horizon. The joy of my son’s smile after making a basket in his game. The little things, the small intricacies of life, became vibrant. Colorful. There was a pep in my step at work, too. I said hi to people I normally bypassed. I greeted my students at the door with a high five. I would randomly break out into song as they entered my room, making them smile. I even portrayed a sports announcer, calling each student’s name out loudly and boldly with enthusiasm, allowing the rest of the kids to cheer as they walked in. Life became more meaningful, and all I had to do was open my eyes, looking at the world around me through the eyes of Christ.
It is time for us all to move from apathy to awe. Find God’s fingerprints in the mundane of your life, and watch the glory of His creation around you come to life. I love the majesty behind Job 37:5 which says, “God thunders with His voice wondrously, doing great things which we cannot comprehend.” Open your eyes to see those wondrous works today.
Song applications: “Closer” by Shawn McDonald
Looking for color in a shade of gray
Looking for love in a drop of rain
Trying to find change from the old mundane
But everything I do just feels the same
Spending my life out in the desert
Been gone so long feels like forever
I just want to be closer to you
I just want to be closer
I am yours
You can have all of me, anything, everything
I just want to be closer
OR “The Motions” by Matthew West
This might hurt, it’s not safe
But I know that I’ve gotta make a change
I don’t care if I break,
At least I’ll be feeling something
‘Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life
I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking,
What if I had given everything,
Instead of going through the motions?
Quote: “God dwells in His creation and is everywhere indivisibly present in all His works. He is transcendent above all His works even while He is immanent within them.” (A.W. Tozer)
Bible story: Read the story of Jesus being rejected in His hometown of Nazareth in Luke 4:14-30. Why do you think the Nazarites rejected Jesus? What was Jesus’ response to their displeasure?
Prayer: Lord, I praise You for the numerous ways you touch my life. Allow me to see Your fingerprints throughout the day to shift my mindset from apathy to awe. Amen.