Tuesday, August 18, 2009

God's Gentle Reminders: The Importance of Loving Others First

I have learned to love Eddie Askew’s prayers by reading the excellent blog of J.R. Woodward. I think the latest prayer bears republishing because it speaks so clearly to the importance of a proper relationship between loving others and our day-to-day activities in a faith venture.

I have discovered over the years, even the most well-intentioned business as ministry can lose sight of its essential mission serving people. The urgent starts overwhelming the important. The good supersedes what is best.

May we never lose our sensitivity to God’s gentle reminders of the importance of loving others first:

Lord, life’s a whirlpool.
So much to do.
I rush around, faster and faster,
intent on today,
this moment.
Never looking beyond the immediate.
My good intentions,
wet and waterlogged,
slide down the plug hole,
gone.


From Facing the Storm
By Eddie Askew

Out there,
on the blurred edge of vision,
people stand, beckon, call.
So indistinct I can pretend
I don’t see them,
except to myself.
But I rush on.
No time.
Scattering, perhaps,
a little largesse on the way.
Greasing the palm of charity.
My once bright conscience dulled
with tarnished generosity.
Encrusted rust, self-damaging.
My own collecting boxes
full of good intentions,
never cashed.
And yet, Lord,
there are moments
when I hear your voice.
Soft, yet insistent.
Your voice, coming,
not from some cloudy heaven
above, beyond,
but somehow centered
in the people I ignore.
And when I take my courage in both hands -
and doing that
means putting down my diary first -
and turn to them,
I find I’ve turned to you.
Among the lonely.
You are the neighbor I ignored.
The injured on the Jericho road.
And when I walk by,
on the other side,
I sidestep love,
and I’m the lonely one,
Self-exiled by my busyness.
Lord, help me try again.
Find time for others.
Find time for you.

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