The Upper Room Devotion for Friday, September 15, 2023, was written by Aya Bianca Into from Davao del Norte, Philippines.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today.
Matthew 6:25-34 NRSV
Exams, scholarship requirements, extracurricular activities - this summed up my everyday life during my freshman year of college. The first few months went well. But I was part of a music organization that required several hours of practice every week - even on holidays. As time passed, I became exhausted with my routine. I started to worry that I might fail my exams and lose my scholarship.
One evening I felt God speaking to me, telling me to put God first on my to-do list each day and trust that my busy schedule and other concerns would be taken care of. So I committed to spend time praying and reading scripture every morning. As exam day approached, I saw how spending time with God regularly was helping me to put things in order - my studies, my time and my daily tasks. When my exam results came in, I was excited to see a near-perfect score. Truly God is faithful to the promise that if we put God first, God will take care of our daily needs. Time spent with God will never be in vain.
Pastor Anthony's Thoughts
Steven Covey has helped thousands of people re-evaluate the priorities in their lives through his book: "7 Habits of Highly Effective People." One of the illustrations he uses in his workshops, is taking a large container and filling it with big stones, then small rocks, pebbles, and finally sand. The illustration helps students to realize they must prioritize the major things in their lives, symbolized by the large rock, then they can fit everything else around them. Aya's reflection echo's Steven's point. As people of faith, we are instructed to prioritize our relationship with God by spending time in God's presence everyday. The scripture for today underscores our need to "strive first" to align our spiritual compasses with God's leading. May we all grow in God's grace as we prioritize our relationship with God.
Dear God, thank you for taking care of our daily needs. Help us to spend more time with you even on busy days. Amen.