There are a lot of mornings that I get out of bed and the first things I think about are not all that great.
I think about my problems. I think about situations with friends and family that just are not right and need to change but they aren’t going to change in the very near future unless some sort of miracle happens. Those thoughts bring me to a place of frustration, confusion and discouragement.
I think about my financial situation and if I will ever be able to afford to retire and I wonder if I will still be getting up and going to work when I am eighty years old. Those thoughts bring me to a place of futility and hopelessness.
I think about the next war that is coming along and the never-ending wars that are already in progress and the endless numbers of children we send to foreign lands to die. Those thoughts fill me with fear and grief.
Psalm 39:3 The more I thought about it, the hotter I got, igniting a fire of words:
Getting out of bed in the morning can be a pretty lousy time of day when all those realities of life come crashing into the middle of a great dream like an out of control truck barreling out of nowhere through the front wall of my house.
To combat this I used to get up and make my coffee and turn on the news. That helped a lot. Well, that helped me amplify those feeling of frustration, confusion and discouragement, futility and hopelessness, fear and grief.
From that point on it was hit or miss whether I would recover enough to be able to fake some sort of happiness at work or if I was going to just say, “The heck with it.” and let everyone see the very crabby, angry man that usually hid behind sarcasm and humor. Would everyone around me deal with subtle bitterness or brazen anger? It was always a toss-up and I am sure my co-workers felt a lot of uneasiness when I would walk through the door in the morning.
Numbers 28:3 “Say to the people: This is the special gift you must present to the Lord as your daily burnt offering. You must offer two one-year-old male lambs with no defects. 4 Sacrifice one lamb in the morning and the other in the evening.”
No, I don’t get up in the morning and kill sheep. I don’t kill a sheep before bed. But when the days of blood sacrifice ended, the principle of why there was a blood sacrifice never changed. These sacrifices not only covered the people’s sins but they focused them on God and what he has done for them.
These days sheep aren’t of much value to most people. If I got up this morning and there was a sheep on my front porch, I would probably give it away. I don’t need it and it wouldn’t even be worth the trouble of selling it as far as I’m concerned.
But if there was a box filled with time I would be all over it. There just isn’t enough time. Time is more valuable than anything I own. If there is a sacrifice for me to make, something that is of value to me that I would like to hoard for myself, it would be my time.
I got out of bed at 4:30 this morning. I would much rather slept in to be honest with you, but this is the time I give to God each morning. This is my sacrifice.
I used to spend time in prayer and bible study before bed. Now I fail to make this sacrifice and I selfishly allow myself to fall asleep without doing this. I try to make that sacrifice every night.
Psalm 39:4 “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is. 5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.”
Am I now perfect and everyone loves me unconditionally? Sadly, the answer to that is a resounding “No”. However, I know that my thoughts are more in line with God’s. I see things with a lot more wisdom and a lot less emotion.
Lamentations 3:23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
So each morning and evening I need to make a sacrifice. In the morning I prepare myself anew for the unblemished, refreshed mercy of God to guide my day. In the evening I thank him for the day and put it behind me. Some days I am more successful than other days. I am ever-changing and my selfishness wanes and waxes. Thankfully God is always constant and unchanging. I can bring my imperfect self before him every day and his faithfulness is still perfect and unyielding.
God, renew in me my commitment to present my life to you as a living sacrifice, to do it unconditionally out of a servant’s heart and to be faithful to you as you are faithful forever to me. Amen.