Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK TEN
ORBIT – DAY FORTY EIGHT
Hello and welcome to Orbit – the daily devotional thought from the youth team at St Mary’s Reigate. Hopefully you’ve been enjoying this experiment over the last few weeks – please get in touch and let us know what you think of it. We’re creating a new Orbit every weekday – our hope is that it will help you to establish just a small daily rhythm of time with God each day.
BIBLE READING – 1 Corinthians 2: 6-7
Today’s reading follows on directly from yesterday’s when Paul was talking to the Corinthians about God’s awesome supernatural power.
We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.
You may remember a couple of days ago on Orbit, we looked at how Paul told the Corinthians that “God used the foolish things of this world to shame the wise.” What he meant by that, simply, is that worldly wisdom isn’t actually up to much. In fact, God prefers to use things – and people – which aren’t usually thought to have much value, in his plan to rescue and transform the world.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we’re not quite as in control of things as we thought. One disease has caused whole industries to crumble; millions to fall into poverty; millions more to lose their jobs. People have gone from being happy and in control, to anxious and hopeless in a single year. There’s been an epidemic of loneliness; some people have fallen into total despair. The things in which we’d placed our hope – being able to go to school, or work, or even go out with friends and have a good time – have failed us, at least for a while.
What Paul calls ‘the wisdom of this age’ is also known in the world outside the Bible as “Conventional wisdom “. This is the idea that if you do certain things, and follow a certain path with certain rules, you’ll end up in a place of happiness and even wealth. But Paul says that this path “comes to nothing” – and perhaps in the last year we’ve been able to see more clearly what he means. Conventional wisdom is great while things are going well – but once you hit a bump in the road, the whole system kind of falls apart.
In America, conventional wisdom goes by another name: the American Dream. And while there are plenty of success stories in that country of self-made people who’ve managed to build up a seemingly perfect life for themselves by working hard and following the rules, there are millions and millions of people for whom the American Dream has failed. Many of them worked much harder than the ones who ‘made it’ – but bad luck or a lack of opportunity made the game too difficult for them. Those Americans – especially the 35 million or so who currently live in poverty, would agree with Paul. The American Dream is coming to nothing.
So what does Paul offer instead? Something massive, mysterious and eternal: God’s wisdom. God has a system for living which does not break down under challenge, or separate people into haves and have-nots. It does not burn us out, and it does not fail over time. God’s alternative system is called The Kingdom – and it is literally the stuff of heaven breaking out on Earth. It is justice, peace and love – the wrong things of the world being put right, everyone having enough, and being cared for. It is perfect, and it does not let anyone down.
Building the kingdom is our job as Jesus’ followers on Earth. We contribute to it through our decisions every day, but we can also impact it in huge ways through the direction that we take in life. The kingdom is God’s wisdom in a world that is ultimately going nowhere. That is something to get excited about, and hold onto, even when the wisdom of the world is letting us all down.
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
God I thank you for your plan to make all things new, and I thank you that you invite me to be a part of it. Please use me today in small ways, and throughout my life in both big ways and small, to be a bringer of your kingdom in a world that so desperately needs its hope. Amen
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
Today, take some time to think – and if it helps, also write or journal – about the systems in which you place your hope. Are you actually more focussed on the wisdom of the world, or on the way of the Kingdom? Is there one step you could take that would demonstrate your allegiance to Jesus, rather than to money, personal success or comfort?
If you want to get in touch, you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback.
We’ll be back with another edition of Orbit tomorrow. Thanks for taking part today!