Thursday, January 12th. Mark 1:35-39

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.  Mark 1:35-39


A young couple with two children came to church this past Sunday morning.  I’ve known them for years now, since before their first child was born.  I’m always happy to see them.  As we greeted each other, they told me that they tried to come to worship the previous week but their car ran out of gas on the freeway.  This is never a good thing.  Especially with two children in the car.  On a Sunday morning.


Yesterday on the way into work the guys on the radio were talking about how low they will let the tank get in their cars before they stop at a gas station.  One person said he never lets his tank get below 1/4 full, another said he tries to squeeze every mile he can get out of every tank.  It drives his wife crazy.


There are plenty of ways to live life on the edge – I’m thinking that standing on the edge of a busy Houston freeway with an empty gas tank isn’t the optimal way.


Yet how often do we live with our spiritual gas tanks on empty?


One of the great math problems of life is figuring out how other people are able to squeeze so much more out of life given that we all only get 24 hours a day.  Rich or poor, young or old, no one gets more than 24 hours a day.  The difference comes in how we use them.


Last night on the way home from work I listened to a podcast from my bishop.  He was talking about preaching on the first Sunday of the year and in that he asked a series of questions about the degree to which we will be prayerful and intentional about the life that unfolds before us in this new year.  His sense, and his coaching, is that “prayerful” and “intentional” go hand in hand.  He is right.


I have 24 hours to live today.  I know where I need to be at 10:00 am and 6:00 pm because I already have appointments.  I’ve let my relationships with other people set that part of my schedule.  But I alone get to choose when I get out of bed in the morning and when I go to the sleep at night.  And I get to schedule my time between appointments.  Where in my schedule do I put time to focus on my relationship with God?


Jesus got up early in the morning and he prayed.  We can assume he prayed prayers of praise and gratitude.  Perhaps he prayed for strength, for guidance, for direction.  And when his prayers were complete, his friends interrupted him.  His tank was full, his mission before him, and off he went to teach and heal.


Let us pray:  Dear Lord, inspire in us a willingness to take time, to make time, to be quietly in your presence.  We praise you for the gift of life.  We ask your blessings on the people we know who are hurting.  And we pray that you use us today to be a blessing in the life of someone else.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen. 


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