It is possible to hit a tennis ball anywhere on the racquet and hope that it goes over the net. But there is a “sweet spot” on the racquet, a zone where the player hopes that the ball connects to that special spot for an optimum hit and return. Excellent players practice to make the ball consistently connect to that sweet spot. As I think about the Christian life, we have the choice to be average followers of Christ or to become passionate disciples. There is sweet spot where God’s gracious presence meets our holy desire and voluntary yieldedness. It is a place of deep connection and of breathtaking beauty. It is a place that is worthy of our consistent pursuit.
God is identified in scripture as one who “was, and is, and is to come” He is the God of the past, the present and the future. It is good to look backward and remember the testimony of faithfulness of God in our days past. It is wonderful to anticipate the hope of an eternity with the God who holds our future. But it is easy to forget that He is also the God of our present, the God of our right now, the God “who is” in this current moment of our lives. It takes effort to remember that God is always with us, that we are not alone, and like a friend, He is right beside us. Let us try to take some time this week to be fully present in the presence of the God “who is” and enjoy the One who walks with us.
The Ottawa Tulip Festival is more than just thousands of glorious tulips for tourists to come and look at each year. They are a gift of thanks from the Netherlands to Canada commemorating the significant role that Canada played in Holland’s liberation during the second world war and also providing asylum for the Dutch royal family. The tulips symbolize the continual gift of friendship between Canada and Holland since 1945. Whether it is between two countries or two people, friendships should be celebrated as meaningful and precious relationships that nourish the soul. Saying thank you and showing appreciation for friends and those we love is almost a forgotten virtue of courtesy these days. We have too many moments where our thoughtful words or small gifts of appreciation turn into missed opportunities to thank our friends. Like the gift of tulips, let’s remember to celebrate our friends and the great blessing that they are in our lives.
Fame and self-promotion are easy friends in a prideful relationship that is commonly found in the world. Fame and humility are uneasy friends in a complicated relationship that takes effort to make it work in a godly way. It is difficult but possible. But put all three together – fame, self-promotion and humility and it is a doomed relationship from the start. It is puzzling to watch Christian leaders trying to make this dysfunctional relationship work and convinced that there is nothing wrong. Instead, it is like a three stranded chord that is always broken, or like the links of a chain that is always too short.