Happier than a Camel on Hump Day

Thankfulness, gratitude, and appreciation are usually relegated to Thanksgiving’s once-a-year holiday, and that’s cool, but I wonder how many of us miss a daily blessing because we need a little more awe for today’s gifts. One of my favorite commercials is the Geico one with the Camel on Hump Day – Wednesday. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to express that glee every day?

Luke 17:11-19 has Jesus healing 10 guys with leprosy, but only one goes back and said “Thanks!” Jesus’ response to the man’s gratitude was, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” Well, which was it: His faith or his thankfulness that made him well? It strikes me today that the two go hand-in-hand. If you have faith, you’re thankful, and if you’re grateful, you have faith. There you go!

What are we going to do today? Are we going to glum around or let our camel-self “Whoop” it up with glee? What a difference it would make in our churches, offices, and world at large if we recognized our daily gifts from God and said, “Thanks!” Our faith would be evident and strengthened. Our witness would even outshine the Geico Camel! Our hump days wouldn’t be a day to get over in order to take us to what might be a better or worse weekend. With a thankful perspective every day becomes a Hump Day toward the Promised Land. With Jesus, every day we’re one day closer to the New Jerusalem!

So look for the good today and be thankful! It’s dependent on our perspectives. We can either droll around through the motions, or celebrate God’s possibilities. There’s a quote from Wayne Cordeiro’s book Doing Church as a Team that is spot-on: “Some of the greatest discoveries come from people readjusting their eyes to see what’s best about a situation rather than what’s worse. I heard a story about George De Mestral who was out walking his dog one afternoon. The dog got loose for a moment and ran through some tall grass. When he finally retrieved his wayward pet, the dog was covered with burrs tangled in his fur. When he arrived home, George could have cursed the dog while cutting the burrs out. Instead, he decided to take a cutting of the fur and view it under his microscope. Amazed at its gripping characteristics, he decided to study it even further. It was his curiosity and his willingness to see its potential that ultimately led him to the creation of Velcro!”

Amen! I want to be the leper that says “Thanks!” today. I want more than just physical healing. I want a faith/gratitude attitude that promotes emotional well-being, spiritual vitality, even happiness. I know too many people who are physically well and sick in soul. I’m going to be the camel today wherever I am and spread good cheer. I am going to look for God’s gifts and celebrate!

Saddle Up Your Horses!

I presided over my last set-up meeting as a District Superintendent last night and now it’s Wednesday. What shall I do with my time today or for the next 15 years of available ministry as an active Elder in the UMC? It feels like a hurdle has been crossed. What to do with this feeling? Go out with a whimper or a bang? Wednesday – Hump Day, middle of the week, a little past the downhill slide to the end of the week, or the moment when we start salivating over a gloriously anticipated weekend. My weekdays can be filled with unexpected “God” moments or a countdown of the trivial and mundane. These are questions with larger answers for a lifetime. How do we run our race? Do we coast or catch a new gear? Do we relish new opportunities or get fixated on the finish line. Is it time for a victory lap, or a call to “Start your engines!”?

I can remember the times in my life when I have thought about the next phase or the finish line too much. When the kids get out of diapers we can save some money… out of braces… out of school… out on their own… or when their cars and student loans are paid off. Then you’re doing it for grandchildren! We are waiting for when we can finally scrape together enough nickels to pay off our credit cards, medical bills, and all our perceived necessities and “want-to’s.” It’s like living on the stressful edge of waiting for God to heal a loved one’s illness, to intervene and help us win the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes of life. It’s waiting, waiting, and more waiting for some magical threshold to be crossed so we can finally relax, sit on our duffs and read a book; waiting for life to be a Larry Levinson Hallmark Channel movie.

In all the waiting until such-and-such happens, I have succumbed to a world that’s still Waiting for Godot without appreciating the fact that God’s immediate presence is already here and now. I have said, in essence, “I’m not going to believe that God has shown up until I get what I want or what the world tells me that I need.” What a horrible way to live! No wonder we are so stressed, tired, and devoid of spiritual power. We’ve told God to wait until Friday or when we hit some mythical cosmic jackpot, and all the while God’s presence is here NOW!

My devotional this morning from Lead Like Jesus asked, “What are you doing today? Is your ‘to do’ list filled with the mundane or the extraordinary?” It then said, “As Christ’s followers, everything in our lives is changed by the overarching reality of Christ’s resurrection. Jesus turned a woman’s daily task of drawing water into a life-changing encounter, a little boy’s lunch into a miracle. He continues to intersect lives today just as He has done for thousands of years. Look for Him at work today, and follow where He leads. Be part of what He is doing in the world.”

Wow!  What a cure for my waiting sickness. Is my “to do” list filled with the mundane or the extraordinary? Does the reality of Jesus’ resurrection permeate my otherwise routine existence? If I really believe Jesus is alive then there’s no way that I can slow down, coast, live for the weekend, or the whatever. I can live for Jesus and every day becomes a God-filled adventure. Every day and every minute is an opportunity to do the profound and glory in the Risen Christ! Saddle up your horses!