The Importance of This Line
One of the first steps we take in the chapter summary method of Bible study is to create a caption. After reading the chapter several times, we begin to get a feel for it. Being thus familiarized with the text, we posit a theme and bestow a title. In the original writings of Scripture the text is continuous with any navigation being internal. Of course, many modern translators divide the text into sections and offer their own headings. This is usually not misleading and often quite helpful. In fact, it is so helpful that it has become convention for most popular writing published these days. It is so much a part of how we read that we likely do not notice it except when it is not there. The heading gives us our bearings. In one succinct line it sums up the subject of the succeeding segment of information. Some may argue that they dumb us down, that good writing does not need headings and intelligent readers can navigate literature quite nicely on their own, thank you very much! I will not dispute that. My intention is not to contend for headings in writing. I rather would like to make an observation about headings in life.
The Sayings of the Soul
We all use them. It may be a lyric, movie line, Scripture verse, political speech, or just that one thing someone once told you that has always stuck with you. These are the sayings of our soul, the headings of our lives. They are planted in the soil of our psyche and their growth is our life story.
“Everybody hurts sometimes.”
“The pain then is part of the happiness now.”
“In any case, we must press on.”
“Always tip for any service”
“We were meant to live for so much more!”
“No! We will not die like dogs. We will fight like lions!”
“Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.”
“All men are created equal.”
“Always wear clean underwear.”
Sayings like these course through the veins of us all. They propel us into action and punctuate our lives with meaning.
When the cares of this life creep in and threaten to choke out our priorities, we have a choice. Which script do we listen to? Which maxim do we claim? Will it be “family comes first” or “keep up with the Jones’s”? Might it be “excellence honors God,” or “good enough for government work”?
Lately, I have been repeating a saying in my soul: “I serve at the pleasure of the Lord.” My work, my ministry, my life was given to me as a charge. It is a privilege and a pleasure. But as soon as God wants me to move on I will. He was good enough to plant me where I am. He may be cultivating me, growing me, and will some day put me in a bigger pot. Or I may possibly have begun a lifelong residence where I am. Maybe I am there to make it into a bigger pot.
Realizing that I serve at the Lord’s pleasure has also helped me to deal with the resignation of my boss and friend, who has recently decided to move on. It has also made me more mindful of the fact I will someday die. God made me for a purpose and only He knows when that purpose will be fulfilled. Another popular maxim, that I also subscribe to is, “You give and take away.”
What do you want on your tombstone?
When they write the account of our lives in the annals of history, what will be the sayings behind each story, the titles of each chapter, the headings demarcating each season of life? What drives us? What are you going through right now? How are you dealing with it? What is your working title? It may make all the difference.