I believe God wants us to invest in strengthening, restoring and maintaining that which is most important to us in life – our soul.
The COVID-19 quarantine and all of the precautions that we have had to take in order to protect ourselves and others has really been a mind bending, game changing experience. I don’t know about you but as for me the whole experience has changed me, now and in ways that I have yet to realize. I have had to take time and consider two questions: What do I treasure most? And What really matters in life?
I would like to offer my sympathy to many who have lost family and friends during this pandemic. I have also had family and friends die. Even though I have been encouraged by scripture readings like in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and a sound mind.” I am still hurt and feel the pain of loss, as it should be, but God doesn’t promise to rid us of pain and suffering due to the loss of a loved one (Jesus wept at the death of his friend Lazarus). But God, has promised that we might have life, and have it more abundantly, Jn 10:10. His promise was evidenced by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I was raised in the church, I attended Sunday School, Worship Services, Confirmation Classes and even Youth Choir. (If anyone can believe it after hearing me sing today, I will say it again yes, I was in the choir).
However, when I was nineteen years old, I was compelled to go into military service. For nearly eleven years I traveled around the world several times and throughout the United States seeing everything that I could see, mostly after dark and doing everything that I should not have done. I remember very little of the places I visited with the exception of when I attended the outdoor sunrise Easter Morning Worship service at the Parthenon overlooking the City of Athens Greece and the Mediterranean Sea. Few things were more memorable and of long-lasting value than what I experienced during that Easter Service in Athens Greece. I still regret the wasted opportunities of my youth when I had the chance to see and do more meaningful and worthwhile things.
I said this during the weeks of the Easter Holiday, and I say it now, my own personal experience has taught me that ONLY WHAT WE DO FOR GOD WILL LAST.
In Matthew 6:19-21, the Bible says, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth destroy, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
God’s word makes it clear that treasure is not some specific collection of objects but is rather anything that one values in life. God’s word is not only talking about the outward assets that we most commonly consider of value like homes, cars, jewelry etc. But the inward character built on honesty, humility, faith and wisdom, to name a few. What I believe God wants us to know is that we need to invest in strengthening, restoring and maintaining that which is and will be more important to us and that is, our soul.
I pray that we value and invest in building a spiritually healthy soul this Easter season and thereafter.
Reverend Otto Penn