Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Time and Treasure | Ash Wednesday 2020

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"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."Matthew 6:21 NRSV

There have been plenty of dumb decisions I've made. Worse, though, were the wrong attitudes I've had at different points in my life.

When I went to Brazil in early 2001 to be a missionary, I was also going to get married. My wife (now ex) brought to our marriage an adorable girl who's grown into an independent and savvy young lady. It was an instant family. In those early days, and for longer than I care to admit, I often tried to live as though I were still single. I got a computer, for instance, and spent many hours on it in a separate office at home. Though I wasn't engaged in anything untoward, and the efforts I made to prepare Bible studies, sermons, and so forth were relevant to my purpose for being in Brazil, I was also active in discussion lists. In retrospect, that was quite a waste of time.

In my defense, I wasn't a complete slacker. I proactively arranged to have a day every so often where I planned activities and games and my daughter and I stayed home together. I also read to her every night, and then to my son as well when he came along. I took my wife out on dates, and socialized with the in-laws. Over the course of time, my priorities began to change, and the ratio of time on the computer vs. with the family began tilting even more in what I'd consider a better direction.

Smartphones were a godsend, in so many ways. No longer anchored down to a desktop or needing to lug around a laptop to be online, I've actually found myself more focused when I'm with people I care about, because I know I can check what's going on in the wider world or respond to messages at any time. The distraction of wondering is gone. 

Where was my heart? Where is it now? These are good questions, relevant for Ash Wednesday, or any day of the year.