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  • "A Musing Pastor"

Waiting can be a curse.

When I take my last breath on this earth, I wonder how many months or years I will have stood in line waiting? In those times of holding fast and moving toward our intended destination, it is easy to become distracted and lose control. Have you ever noticed the check-out aisles of grocery and department stores? Sure you have. It can often be the place where we wait the most. I'm sure you have fallen prey to the store's strategic plot to empty your pockets of some extra cash.

Just this morning, I stood in line waiting and observing. I almost fell into the carefully baited trap but was somehow able to keep my distance. The person standing in front of me did not fare so well.

These delectable treats beckon to our eyes and mainly to our stomachs. If you listen closely, you can almost hear them whispering, "Hey, look over here. You are hungry, you need a pick me up. Go ahead, grab a few of us and satisfy that urge. You deserve us. Don't let your waiting have the last say."

With a deft movement of their arm, the person in front of me gathered 6 assorted candy bars and two packs of chewing gum. Now please know that I enjoy chocolate and chewing gum as much as the next person. I gazed at the rows of candy and thought, Hmmm, I need something to eat. Almost on cue, my stomach gurgled and a twinge of hunger sprang forth. I swallowed hard and looked the other way. I watched the sweetest little girl looking into a parabolic mirror, but that a blog post for tomorrow.

Our waiting needs to be tempered with caution and resolve. The writer of Proverbs 9 warned of those dangers that attempt to sway us off course.

"The woman Folly is loud; she is undisciplined and without knowledge. She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, calling out to those who pass by, who go straight on their way. Pr 9:16 “Let all who are simple come in here!” she says to those who lack judgment. “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of the grave." (Proverbs 9:13-18, NIV)

Instead of a careless approach to things that offer an alluring call to our base needs, let's adopt a focused vision. This season of Advent rolls onward and we await the coming of Christ on Christmas. We also await His second coming and can often become distracted with any number of competing things.

Instead of chasing after temporary pursuits (folly), let's savor eternal treasures (wisdom) and allow it to shield our eyes from those things that try to lead us astray.

"Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; beside the gates leading into the city, at the entrances, she cries aloud: “To you, O men, I call out; I raise my voice to all mankind. You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, gain understanding. Listen, for I have worthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right. My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness. All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse. To the discerning all of them are right; they are faultless to those who have knowledge. Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her." (Proverbs 8:1-11, NIV)

Choosing between folly and wisdom seems to be a no-brainer. It also sounds simple. Yet, we fail to hit 1.000 on this. Ponder the next time you stand in line waiting, and observe your surroundings. Identify those things that catch your attention. See which stimuli win and which ones fail to reel you in. Also, ponder those things that take your eyes of Jesus and see which ones overpower you and which ones don't.

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