Yesterday, Sunday, we began a new characteristic of the Joshua Generation, “Thoughtfulness.” By this, we do not mean kindness toward others which is a common understanding of thoughtfulness. Rather we mean, meditative or giving consideration to how our actions will effect eternity.
The following bulletin article, in case you have not seen it, will explain the idea more fully. Our slogan this month in the bulletin is ‘Think, pray, wait.’ A couple of our ladies here at Seven Hill developed an excellent bulletin board using a green, yellow and red light traffic light to depict this thought of thinking about what God wants, praying about it and acting upon His answer. However, there has also been a little confusion about the application of the slogan to some of the Bible events for our Next Generation class and for the e-bulletins. So, have not been sufficiently meditative before, I am going to change this month’s slogan to “Think and act with eternity in your mind.” My apologies for the lateness of this change, but I believe it far better depicts our characteristic. Thank you for your patience and sorry for the confusion.
In the King James New Testament, the word meditate is found once. It occurs in the following context. I Timothy 4:12: “ Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13: Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14: Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 15: Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.”
These are the words of an old Christian (Paul) to a young Christian (Timothy). Though it occurs only once in the N.T., it takes into its force the entire scope of Christianity: doctrine, action, motivation, attitude, faith and integrity. Such an idea must be of great importance for each of us. We are to think long and deeply of the meaning and application of scripture to our lives. The principle of meditation has always been one that God has expected of the faithful. Consider some O.T. passages that will give us a better grasp of what it means to meditate.
One of the reasons for meditation is our own salvation. In Joshua 1:8, God told the people, “8: This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein…” When we meditate on the word, it means the word is working its way deeper into our thinking. It is part of the ‘hiding’ process of which David spoke in Psalm 119:11: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” The psalmist also said of the righteous man, “1: Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2: But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2).
Deep and frequent meditation will humble us before God as all that He is and has done for us awes us. Psalm 4:4: “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.”As we contemplate God, His word, His creation and ourselves, we cannot help but bow in reverence before him and be silent. Job became silent after seeking an audience with the Almighty (Job 40:3-5).
Honest meditation causes us to see ourselves as we really are. David said in Psalm 119:59 “I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.” In the holy event of gathering around the Lord’s table, we are to engage in such meditation, “28: But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” 1 Corinthians 11:28
Brothers and sisters, we cannot grow or even see our need to grow by only thinking occasionally about our relationship to God and His commands. Wisdom comes with meditation. Self-awareness comes with meditation. Humility comes with meditation. Salvation can come with meditation. May I suggest that you “meditate on these things.”
There is another side to spiritual thoughtfulness that bears consideration by every Christian. Admittedly, it would surely be included in the meditation of which we have already spoken. But, I believe it is worth a paragraph or two on its own. Let me present it with this personal anecdote. I used to preach in a certain congregation in which prayers often included this phrase in regard to the coming sermon, “let us listen with a view to eternity.” In other words, we should be thoughtful enough to realize that the sermon, singing, prayer, giving and partaking was not primarily for the moment, but for the everlasting. This should ever be the realization of each Christian in regard to each act of their life. We do not just get a job, but one that will effect our eternal destination. We do not just marry a person we love, but one who will have great influence on our eternity. We do just visit someone, but we leave behind some influence that will effect eternity. The Christian must never forget that everything brings us either closer to God or further away.
The elder must so live that we can mimic his faithful life (at least in principles) and know that we are going to heaven (Hebrews 13:7). So, we do not simply appoint someone to take care of the church, we are selecting a pattern for us to copy with a view to eternity.Paul said, “reaching forth unto the things which are before…” (Philippians3:13). The Christian must always look to the future consequences of his present action or lack thereof. No act and no word is without results that touch eternity.
May we all grow in spiritual thoughtfulness.