Devotional

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me. He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him. His mighty arm has done tremendous things…” – Luke 1:46-51. 

Some years ago, I was invited to a Christmas party. The invitation had one request: “Please don’t bring a gift. Your presence is gift enough.” It sounds easy. Just be present and be engaged. We all have the ability to focus our attention on the present moment and what is before us. But we don’t often do it. We have slowly but surely given up or been conditioned out of full engagement. Who hasn’t sat at their desk working on the computer while their mind wanders off, perhaps planning a summer vacation, or considering restaurant options for dinner, or worrying about the kids, the remodel, the doctor bills—the list is endless. It is difficult to be fully engaged with others and God.

Consider Paul’s advice in his Epistle to the Colossians: “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward and that the Master you are serving is Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24)  Joseph is an example of someone who was fully engaged. He readily obeyed the angel’s command to take Mary as his wife. A further example of Joseph’s obedience is seen in Matthew 2:13-14. After Jesus’ birth, he was told by an angel to take his family to Egypt–quickly. That was still quite an undertaking. To travel by donkey with Mary and young Jesus to an unfamiliar country at least 300 miles away over wilderness terrain was not a Sunday stroll. But Joseph obeyed–promptly (2:14). After they were settled in Egypt, however, Joseph was told to move again–back to Israel. Again Joseph obeyed without raising any questions about practicalities or God’s timetable.

When you are fully engaged with God, it means that you have the faith to obey Him even when things don’t make sense. It means when we are uncertain about our future, worried or afraid, God’s power will come into our lives and give us peace. And unlike our tendencies, God’s engagement is not dependent on our circumstances or how much we are distracted. God does not disengage, we do. God remains fully engaged in our lives at all times . 

Discussion questions:

  1. How can we take responsibility for our engagement with God?  
  2. What can we do this week to become more engaged with God?