A Vitally Important Maintenance Plan
Have you ever had one of those days where it feels like everything you did didn’t really matter? You finished all the laundry, folded, and put it away and then discovered the clothes basket was already half full of more dirty clothes. Or you cleaned the kitchen, everything sparkled, and all the dishes were put away only to walk back in a couple of hours later to a sink full of dirty dishes and a messy counter.
We’ve all experienced days like this where it just didn’t feel like we were making any progress. However, some things in life are like that. I call them maintenance chores. No matter how frequently you do them, they still must be done again and again. These maintenance chores rarely seem fun, but not doing them brings more frustration than doing them repeatedly. It really is easier to do a little each day and prevent a pile up over time that results in a big mess down the road.
The same rule applies in our spiritual life. We don’t read the Bible one day a week or rely on the Sunday sermon to be enough to get us through the week. We need to spend time daily maintaining our relationship with God. Just as our home runs better when we do a little each day to keep it organized and clean, so our relationships function and thrive when time is devoted to them on a frequent, regular basis.
Diligence in many areas of life provides the motivation to complete our tasks and maintain a level of order. One of my favorite passages that reminds of this importance is Proverbs 4:20-23. “My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight, keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” The word vigilance is often translated diligence. The Bible dictionary describes this word as the “act of guarding”.
This definition challenges me. Am I guarding my heart? Do I protect it from negative influences? Do I meditate consistently on God’s Word? Meditating is not a complicated idea, but rather the practice of regularly dwelling on an idea, thinking, pondering, considering the implications of its meaning in my life. One pastor compared it to a cow chewing its cud. It chews on it awhile, rests, brings it back up and chews on it some more. This process is repeated several times over.
The concept of mediating on God’s Word prompted me to spend more time memorizing Scripture. When I am working to remember a verse, word for word, I spend more time contemplating the meaning behind the words and how I am to apply them in my life. I am not as consistent as I want or need to be, but each passing year gets a little better.
That effort is never wasted. As I maintain and grow my relationship with God, a little every day produces more significant results than one power-packed retreat or revival. Just like watching a baby grow, you don’t notice the changes from day to day; however, if you wait a year, you can see big variations in their growth and development. Our spiritual lives are similar. Consistent growth each day produces big results over time.
If you already have a maintenance plan, please keep it up! If your current relationship with God is hit or miss, try spending a few minutes each day in God’s Word and prayer. Just a little bit each day yields big benefits down the road.