I Samuel 3:1-11
Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread. 2 At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; 3the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4Then the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’* and he said, ‘Here I am!’ 5and ran to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call; lie down again.’ So he went and lay down. 6The Lord called again, ‘Samuel!’ Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call, my son; lie down again.’ 7Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 8The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. 9Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” ’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’ 11Then the Lord said to Samuel, ‘See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle.
Living More Simply
I was at Target the other day looking at coloring books for Benjamin, who is an avid colorer. There were about 100 options. I was a little overwhelmed by the choices and stood there staring at those books for about 10 minutes. Why? Because I couldn’t find one single coloring book. Every book was a coloring book and something else. They included a pack of triangular crayons, or stickers, or paints and paintbrushes, or glow-in-the-dark pens, or secret messages that could only be revealed if smeared with Cheetos-covered fingers. I couldn’t find a simple coloring book. All I wanted was a book full of pictures that lacked color. There were none.
I often get annoyed when things are more complicated then they need to be. And I won’t even begin to talk about how much anxiety I feel when I try and pick a nice restaurant for Jennaya and I on special occasions; she’s a “foodie.” I already feel like I’m constantly running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I don’t need things that add to the crazy. I need more simple in my life.
As Lent begins, my theme for these 40 days in going to be simplicity. What is going on in my life that I think I “need” but don’t really? What seems as essential as water but maybe isn’t? What extraneous stuff is crowding out the thing(s) I should be doing? I want to turn down the noise in my life and listen more closely to God. I want to detach the sparkly pens, the pop-up pictures, and the decoder ring. I just want to be a coloring book. Plain, simple, blank, and let God color in what God thinks I need.
Is there something that you have in your life that is creating too much noise and distraction and, ultimately, creates a distance from the joy and serenity God wants us all to experience? Could you try and to live without it for at least 40 days; or maybe forever? And then, maybe, you can then take on a spiritual discipline that was not a part of your daily life before…prayer, reading the bible, working with the poor, a small group here at PVUMC, CHOIR?
Prayer: God, we lift up our concerns into your hands for only you know what is truly needed in these situations. Please help us be blank coloring books so that you can color in what we truly need in our lives. Because YOU are the master artist and have created us in love, please bless our time of Lent and reflection. Amen.
Brett Robison, Music & Arts Ministries Director, PVUMC
P.S. I hope you come to one of our worship services to have the chance to reflect on how fragile our lives are and, more importantly, what a blessing they can be to us and to those around us.