Sunday, August 16, 2015

That You May Live

By Melanie Rigney

Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed! Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the way of understanding.” (Proverbs 9:5-6)

Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.  (Psalm 34:9a)

Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord. And do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. (Ephesians 5:17-20)

Jesus said to the crowds: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”  (Mark 5:41-42)

Lord, fill me to the brim with faith and love.

Copyright Salparadiso via Shutterstock, 
The Greek island of Ikaria is one of the world’s “blue zones,” where people live longest. The New York Times a few years ago wrote about this place of 10,000 people and what makes it special. A local doctor cited factors such as staying up and rising late and a lack of concern about time or money. “It’s not a ‘me’ place,” he told the writer. “It’s an ‘us’ place.”

That is not the world most of us live in. We get up early and stay up late. We couldn’t live without our watches, alarm clocks, timers, reminders, and phones telling us when we have to be somewhere… and when we’re running late. We care about money; we care a lot about money and the things it brings us, often to the detriment of our relationships with God, family, and friends. There’s a lot of “me” in our world, much more than “them” or “him.” Color our zone red, most of the time, red for rushed, angered, fearful, emotional in so many unhealthy ways.

It strikes me that the long life those who live on Ikaria has some parallels with the kingdom to which the Lord invites us to prepare for here on earth. The food is simple and ample. The focus is not on ourselves, but on others… and, in the case of heaven, on Him.

While Ikaria sounds like paradise on earth, the paradise in the next life sounds even more idyllic: fed to satiation. Singing and playing with our friends to the Lord, giving thanks always. Never, ever being remorseful about what we ate, never drinking to excess. Always having our fill. And best of all, that life doesn’t require a move to an isolated island. It simply requires following the One where He calls here… and beyond.

Turn off all your electronics and take off your watch after you read this. See how long you can remain in conversation with the Lord without inviting or accepting a distraction. Tomorrow, attempt to stay in the blue zone a few minutes longer. Repeat.

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