Finding things and serving things.

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

Finding

Today I found three things. Three things that I had been missing, that is, and I found them all at different times and in different places. It was a finding kind of day.

First I found my name tag for work, the one which reads “Breena – Volunteer Coordinator.” I had been missing it for a while and was afraid to say anything, so it came as quite a relief when I found it inside the toe of a boot today!

Second, a few minutes later, I found my flash drive which was an even greater relief, because of late I had come to believe I had lost it for good and unlike a name tag which can be replaced at relatively minimal cost, this flash drive holds everything from the working draft of my NaNoWriMo novel to wedding photos to personal letters, almost none of which are backed up elsewhere. I found it in my purse, which suggests I never really lost it to begin with, but I am not exaggerating when I say I checked my purse twenty times before. For this find I said, “Thank you Jesus!” (It was the most important find of the day.)

Finally, towards the end of the work day, I found my book light which was sitting under my desk in a box of personal items which I have not yet unpacked since my first day at work, back in July of 2007. There have been at least a few evening car trips when I would have liked to have that book light. Never again will I strain my eyes against the fading daylight and think in frustrated wistfulness, “If only, if only!”

I guess finding things isn’t that remarkable. People find things all the time, and when you lose things as often as I do it makes sense that my chances of finding three of those lost things in a single day are heightened due to the sheer number of missing things. But all of this–losing and finding–isn’t really what I intended to write about this evening. It just seemed mentionable, so I mentioned.

Serving

On to other things. In the past three days I have taken two naps, which I thought was a pastime I’d left behind with my college textbooks, or at least napping with such frequency. I think some of the reason that I’ve been so tired after work is because I’ve given up a half hour of sleep in the morning to read from the Bible. I used to hear about people who did that and said, “Yeah right. Sleep is much more important than anything that book could tell me.” Is it? Every morning for the past week and a half I have started my day with a dose of Joshua, which is bloody and difficult and some days I come away thinking, “Really? My God ordered the slaughter of entire cities of men, women, children, and animals? Hm, okay, well it’s off to work I go to love my neighbor and turn the other cheek.” Understanding that book and how it relates to our lives and our relationship with a complex God has never been easy.

But I chose Joshua. Joshua contains one of my favorite passages, which I’ll have to wait until the end of the book to get to but I’ll share it here now. Joshua, after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, after defeating all of the kingdoms that stood in Israel’s way, after portioning out the promised land to the various tribes, after all of this says to his people, to God’s people, “Fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshipped…and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Josh 24: 14-15)

Maybe this is a favorite of mine because it used to hang in our house as I was growing up. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” There is something about that line that just gets me. Besides nostalgia or the comforts of affiliation, I think it highlights some very important things, including our free will and how that free will seems wan when nestled against a direct command to serve God. Free will is no topic to dip into lightly, especially not towards the end of a post (yes, I’m almost done) but here too I think this line gives reason to think, and not just to Christians and Jews. Everybody serves someone or something, whether it is God, their husband or wife, their children, their employer, their friends, their government, themselves. Maybe some people serve an idea or system of beliefs. Maybe they serve guilt of past crimes, or the promise of future ones, or their possessions or status or rank. Maybe they serve any combination of the above. But we all serve something, and we get to choose what or who that is. There’s a lot of power in a choice like that, a lot of consequence. Much hangs in the balance, as they say! So here, the question you’ve been waiting for, who will you serve? Don’t answer that question to me, I’m no body. But consider it.