In our family, we make a big deal about birthdays. And as you know, my birthday was this past Friday. This year, though, was something of a departure from the past. Yes, I was the center of attention, at least for most of the week, but it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.
After all, when Janet or the kid have their special day, one would think the world revolves around them. But last week, most of the attention I received was from the IRS and an insurance company. To begin with, I received a notice from the IRS that we are being charged a penalty for failing to file a certain corporate return on time – only thing is, we filed for an extension and for some reason, the agency didn’t connect the dots and link the extension to the return. I think we will get it handled eventually, but it took the efforts of several people and wasted time to provide the proper documentation that should absolve us of any wrongdoing. Nonetheless, it wasn’t the best way to start a birthday week.
Next, I received a notice about the renewal of a corporate insurance policy for next year. We had been promised a reduction, based on longevity, lack of any claims and a variety of other reasons – however, when the renewal came, it didn’t reflect anything we have discussed the past several years. I guess you could say the company has a short memory and no longer saw any advantage to living with the discussions we have had… So what else is new? The next chapter there hasn’t been written yet, but I will remain hopeful of a positive outcome.
And then, Janet and her sisters got together for a week-end here in Carmel. Since the death of their parents several years ago, the girls try to visit together three or four times a year. This was the only week-end that fit everyone’s schedule, so… I was on my own throughout the last several days. Not that it is necessarily a bad thing – it’s just that it’s not generally the way we do things around here. But then Randy, my brother-in-law, arrived in town this morning and we spent the afternoon together down at the Indiana State Fairgrounds – attending a fly fishing show that really held our attention. In fact, it turned out to the be capstone of the whole week – we really had a good time and it was fun to reconnect with him.
We are both avid fly fishermen and yet, believe it or not, we have never gone on a trip together. Part of today was filled with the anticipation of planning something for later in the year. I look forward to it, and as this next week progresses, things will get a little more peaceful around here after all the guests depart for their respective homes; and Janet and I resume our everyday lives. Then, we will once again be the center of attention in one another’s lives. In a real sense, we are always centered on one another, but our various physical locations have thwarted that effort in the literal sense this week.
So, my birthday is over, the guests are departing, the celebrations are a thing of the past (at least until the next family birthday) and I am two days closer to my next special day. A lesson that has come out of all this is that we always need to center our attention on God and Jesus. No matter the external circumstance, our concentration on the Lord of the universe is important. Then, and only then, can we experience divine peace and alleviate the anxiousness that plagues all of us when we get sidetracked by other issues.
The verse for this evening comes to us from the book of John. Jesus, Himself, tells us, in John 14:27,”Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” My encouragement this evening is that Jesus wants each of us to make Him the center of attention. My prayer is that, in the midst of all the other distracting things that go on in our lives, we won’t forget to put God first. Then, the rest of the stuff will take care of itself and fade into the background, where it belongs. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…