Today’s Scriptures: Lectionary selections from the Revised Common Lectionary Year C
1 Timothy 1:12-17
Giving me time to have an idle mind sometimes proves dangerous. I may decide the entire house needs rearranging or the garden needs tilling with a spoon. Sometimes my idle mind proves delicious as I work out some new concoction in the kitchen. Times when my mind is truly idle occur only on rare occasion, but they lead me in directions I had no intention of going. In the passages today we see examples of what I could see as idle minds and some very focused minds.
While Moses was on Mt. Sinai with God, the others were gathered at the base of the mountain with nothing specific to do. No wandering. The Sabbath is only one day a week. What else is there to do on the other six days while Moses was away? He had been gone a long time and perhaps this time he was not coming back. Idle minds lead to idols. The laws of worship had been given and a priestly order had been ordained so a group of people should have known better, nonetheless, they led the construction of the idol. We can only speculate on the motive. The only thing the scripture gives us is that they wanted a tangible form of God to worship.
The creation of the idol provides the back-story to today’s scripture in which we find a God who is ready to consume them and put an end to entire adventure in the desert. Moses, as prophets often did, intervened before God for the sake of the people. God gives the people another chance and the opportunity to return to his covenant with them. Ironically, the people received something of what they wanted; Moses brought with him the tablets of the covenant with God which were housed inside the Ark of the Covenant – which was a visible symbol of God carried before the people.
In both New Testament passages we find people who are singularly focused. In Timothy, Paul maintains his focus by remembering how God saved him from the sinful persecution of Christians he originally undertook. In Luke, Jesus again uses a parable to demonstrate the focus of God to have the lost return to him. Both passages recognize the patience God manages as he sometimes brings believers to him (Paul) and sometimes waits for the lost to return. Ultimately, God wants all to come to him.
Just as God is patient with us when our idle minds, or disobedient tendencies, overwhelm us, how much more should we turn that patience around and extend the same to those around us. As we learn to extend the grace of patience toward others, we too will find those celebrations of the shepherd and woman.
Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org