To round out my vacations days, I usually stay at our oldest son’s house in the Martinsburg, W.Va., area. I mostly bide my time by playing golf at a local course and riding my bike along the C&O Canal along the Potomac River.
One morning recently, I first stopped at the Dunkin’ Donuts shop on North Queen Street for a coffee and two of those things I prefer Terry did not know I ate (one had jelly in it).
Anyway, as I sat breakfasting up and working a crossword puzzle, I happened to notice an older gentleman who had entered the store and placed an order. I noticed he was neatly attired, although it was the pocket of his pull-over collared shirt that gathered my attention.
It was the most overstuffed pocket I have ever seen. I am not quite sure how he was able to cram so much into the pocket. In it were a glasses case and one pen. There was a folded booklet. Several folded sheets of paper were based in it, standing tall out of the pocket. A pair of medium-sized scissors could be seen, and what looked like a bookmark with a tassel protruding outward. He walked slightly bent forward, almost as though the combined weight of the pocket contents were pulling him forward. The pocket bulged way out with all the stuff in it.
But, there was also a small book. It turned out to be a copy of the New Testament. After he sat down near me with his order, he pulled out the New Testament and read from it. He calmly sipped coffee and ate a glazed donut as he read. I tried to observe without obviously looking. It nonetheless set me to thinking that in the midst of his apparently busy life, he must have been a God-centered man.
This sight set me to thinking. It is very true that people of the church are not God-centered in their daily living. We carry too many things in our pockets of daily doings with little or no consideration for the presence of God.
There is not so much wrong with being busy every day, but “busy-ness” every day without incorporated consciousness of fellowship with God is very wrong, which results in spiritual barrenness. This corporate church experience is an underlying weakness in the overall make-up of the church
I once read about Joanna Wesley, the mother of John and Charles Wesley. Joanna had given birth to several children. But, she was also a Godly woman who prayed daily. She was never so busy with household chores and tending to her children that she could not incorporate prayer with God in her day. She did this by setting a chair in the middle of the kitchen and by throwing her apron over her head. This was a signal to her children that she spending time with God in prayer, and that she should not be bothered.
In this moment, consider all that God is to you. For example, He is Creator, particularly from the standpoint that He has given to you life. He is Savior, particularly from the standpoint of the salvation He extends to us through faith in the name and redemptive work of His divine Son, Jesus Christ.
He is Sustainer/Provider, particularly from the standpoint that He is the source and supply of all these good blessings we experience. He is long-suffering, particularly from the mercy and grace He daily directs our way.
And, we do not make it a point to give Him time during the course of our day because we stuff the pockets of our days with so many things to do? Spurred by the image of that man with the Word of God included in his bulging shirt pocket, we need to be stirred to be God-centered people.
However, the thought did occurr to me as to why he did not put some of those items into his pants pockets. But, then again, maybe those pockets were full, too.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.