Monday March 14, 2001
Take care that you do not forget the LORD your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes, which I am commanding you today. – Deuteronomy 8:11
My father used to have a t-shirt. It said, “JESUS IS COMING! LOOK BUSY!” He is a Presbyterian minister. People like to give pastors silly gifts. My father loved this t-shirt. He thought it was funny even though it really wasn’t. The message, however, was a little silly for my father to just wear around town. People might think he wasn’t taking his job seriously. He wore it around the house to do chores and amuse my mother. She would wear a t-shirt too. It said, “Sopranos do it High.” She is a professional singer and must also be cautious about job related t-shirt slogans. My father was not trudging through the wilderness with the Israelites so, thankfully, God let this t-shirt wear out and let my father’s feet swell so he couldn’t go get another one.
But the t-shirts mantra, “LOOK BUSY!” how ever stupid, makes sense in light of this passage from Deuteronomy. The set-up line, “JESUS IS COMING!” reminds us of the long way that the LORD our God has led us these many years in the wilderness. Moses is warning the Israelites to “LOOK BUSY” all the time. The Israelites, without any mock-urgency, are to be continuously observant and to always remember the LORD. This (and I am using the pithiest brand of “this” here) is a very long process that we are going through with God. God lets us be hungry and we are humbled. God feeds us with manna and we get by. God brings us into a good land and we eat our fill. Then we live in prosperity, fine houses and riches multiply, and we forget God. Now, Let’s not all run out and buy t-shirts, but reflect on where we stand in this cycle. Are we humbled? Hungry? Have we forgotten the LORD in our prosperity?
God of Moses – if we knew we’d arrive in the Promised Land tomorrow, we’d clean ourselves up, but we don’t dare impose such firm deadlines on You. Help us urgently wait. In our waiting, help us to move faithfully amongst your people, rectifying wrongs. People of God, let us remember the long way the LORD our God is leading us that we may all eat bread without scarcity. Here. Now. May the Kingdom Come. Amen.
Alex Wirth attends McCormick Theological Seminary and is pursuing a career as a writer while honing his skills as a bicycle mechanic.