If God chooses to add a little extra beauty, shouldn’t I? In those matters God calls me to do, shouldn’t I go beyond merely getting them done and instead add an extra bit of effort? Wouldn’t I be most closely imitating him if I went beyond merely completing the task and chose instead to do it with joy, with excellence, with a desire to in some way make it beautiful?
The sky was still dark as I left the house this morning. When I went overseas just three weeks ago the sun had already risen by this time and I was walking in dawn’s early light. But summer has given way to fall and the nights have quickly grown longer. I press “play” in my Bible app and set out.
I round a bend and in the corner of my eye see an unusually bright star in the southern sky. I make a note to look it up when I return, though I know I’ll probably have forgotten by then. I realize my mind has wandered and while I still hear David Cochran Heath’s voice in my AirPods, I have lost track of chapter and verse. “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD,” I hear him say, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch…” Ah yes, Jeremiah 23, one of the sweetest chapters in the whole book. “And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’”
My plan prompts me to skip ahead to Jeremiah 26, then to Psalm 77 and James 2. When I’ve heard “for as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead” it is time to pray and, as it happens, to turn to the southeast. I begin to thank the Lord for giving me the precious gift of faith and to ask him to help me be diligent in showing my faith by my works. As I glance toward where the sun will soon rise, I see that the sky has begun to turn shades of pink and purple.
I spend some time confessing sin and making requests on behalf of family members, and while I do so the sky continues to brighten.