Daily D – Ezra 3:12-13
But many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders who had seen the first temple wept aloud when they saw the new Temple’s foundation. The others, however, were shouting for joy. The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud noise that could be heard far in the distance. EZRA 3:12-13 (NLT)
There is a man of my acquaintance who has what we call great institutional memory. He remembers how things used to be. He has lots of stories about the good old days. To his credit, he is not stuck there. There are many things he prefers about how things get done now.
There are those who have adopted a certain kind of neology. If things are not new and cutting edge, they are obviously hopelessly stuck in the past where things did not work as they should have.
A couple of friends of mine have recently written a book that traces several generations of thought patterns in church life. They show how each generation succeeded the one before it. They make an informed examination of what is emerging.
Which way of thinking is right? They both are. We must learn the lessons of the past. We need to calmly and wisely consider what was right, what was wrong, what was confused, and what is missing. We also need to look ahead and ask, “Twenty years from now when we have failed, what will have caused the failure?”
In today’s text, we see those with institutional memory grieving what was lost. We also see those who were eager to begin again more intelligently. No new venture should begin without looking back. No new venture should continue without considering both what we want to happen and what could deter our best intentions.
The year 2020 is almost behind us. The year we anticipated for so long that would be a year of clarity brought a different kind of focus than what we were looking for. Standing where we do so near to the end of this year and so close to the next, let us again ponder what is right, what is wrong, what is confused, and what is missing.
How can we maximize the good? Minimize the bad? Clarify the confused? Add what is missing?
Let us lean toward 2021 with renewed hope for what may come while calling to memory what has been lost. Let us look ahead not only with hope but with the focused intentionality to eliminate the distractions that would lead us to double down on the failures of this year.
When will you take time to think, to remember, to look ahead? Schedule that time. Protect it. Ask God to speak to you clearly and to give you his perspective.
The year 2021 is composed of dates on a calendar. It involves the orderly movement of seasons. It is full of opportunity. However, there are no promises that it will be better than today. We have to learn the lessons of today so that tomorrow can be better.
Ecclesiastes 3 says, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. . . A time to tear down and a time to build up,” (verses 1, 3).
Know the season. Know what to tear down. Know what to build up. Let us start now so that 2021 can become the year we had hoped 2020 would be.
I will take time to cry, make time to laugh, take time to grieve, and prepare to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4).
Our Father, in a year full of spent matches, rekindle a flame to burn away what has been lost and to light the way into a preferred future. Empower us to take stock of where we have been and to lean into the opportunities ahead. Empower us to build a better world upon the bare foundation before us. Give us your vision for the big picture and the action steps to take to turn it into reality. Amen.
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Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand. (CSB)
Isaiah 38:2, 3 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD. He said, “Please, LORD, remember how I have walked before you faithfully and wholeheartedly, and have done what pleases you.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. (CSB)
Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the LORD is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the LORD is a just God. All who wait patiently for him are happy. (CSB)