The Upper Room devotional reflection for Thursday, September 13, 2020 comes to us from Xavis Arndt Sheffield of Pennsylvania
Deuteronomy 6:1-9 1 These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you. 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.
–Proverbs 22:6 (NRSV)
Growing up, I watched and listened as my grandma read her Bible aloud every night before she went to bed. As a child, I wondered why she did it. Watching my grandma practice her faith made me want to know God. I wanted to know what sustained and nourished her through pain and sorrow and gave her sheer joy in living. I wanted to know where my grandma found her strength. As I grew older, I understood that having a connection to her Creator gave her hope and got her through life’s most difficult times.
Over and over, I return to the image of my grandma reading her Bible. From her example I have learned that God alone gives me strength in my weakness, light in my darkness, comfort in my distress, and eternal life in my death. God used my grandma’s simple, but profound, example to help me in my own journey toward God. And as I practice my own faith today, I never know what impact it might have on someone else or how God might use me. Let us all live out our faith so that others can see and hear the love of God.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for giving us strength through your word. Help us to be witnesses of faith to others every day. Amen.
Thought for the Day: How can I be an example of faithful witness to others?
–from Xavis Arndt Sheffield
Once when I was attending a meeting of parents at one of my sons’ school, the leader asked the question, “What are the three most important ways that children learn?” We all guessed before she said “The first is by example.” We waited a moment, and then she said, “The second is by example.” Of course, then we were able to say, “And the third is … BY EXAMPLE”. Xavis Arndt Sheffield has reminded me about this teaching from Proverbs and from the leader of that meeting.