It was one of those rare mornings. I woke up early and couldn’t go back to sleep so I took the time to catch up on reading Tom Holladay’s new book, The Relationship Principles of Jesus. Our small group is on the 40 Days of Love journey, but the last couple of days have held little time to read, so this morning it felt really nice to settle into my chair with a cup of coffee and this great book. In Chapter 5 Tom encourages the reader to memorize Philippians 4:8, “Finally my brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (By the way, if that verse doesn’t read exactly right, it’s because I wrote it from memory, which seems just a wee bit less reliable than when I was a teenager.) After taking a few minutes to memorize the verse I was suddenly struck by a realization. Like many people, I memorized verses way back in Sunday School. At the time, I thought they’d be in my mind one day and out the next. (Hey, how will I ever possibly use trigonometry in real life?) I thought back over how those verses learned decades ago have proven through the years to be friends when I needed a friend, comfort when I needed a calming voice, and direction when I felt lost.
We live in the realm of the mind. No matter who we’re around or what we’re doing, most of the time we’re alone with our thoughts – our imagination, our fears, our doubts, our joys, our mental rumblings. I was reminded this morning, with a cup of coffee and a book, that the treasures that I place in my mind, those memorized verses of God’s timeless Word, help me keep my focus on my Creator and Savior - and off of the mundane, trivial, human emotions that sometimes clutter up my thoughts.
What a great day this is starting out to be. Thank you, Pastor Tom.