Draining the Swamp


We’re continuing our study of the building blocks. Have you completed your Soul Care Plan for 2018?  Soul Care Plan Link Today’s topic is wrapping up the building blocks. 

Today’s scripture: Luke 12:16-21 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Jeff Miner):

I recently heard an expression that captures the essence of spiritual life for many of us. This person was dealing with one problem after another at work, which in that particular corporate setting had been labeled “fighting alligators.” He said that he spends so much time fighting alligators, he doesn’t have time to drain the swamp.

And isn’t that life? We spend so much of our time with things that are urgent, we rarely take the time to do what is important.

For the past several weeks, our Be Still devotionals have focused on seven key Building Blocks for a healthy soul. Today is the last installment in that series. Tomorrow we’ll turn a fresh page. But first let’s pause and reflect.

What are the Building Blocks? They represent seven key ways that saints throughout the ages have “practiced the presence of Christ.” Each block represents a different way to spend time with Jesus — which is the key to our personal spiritual transformation. The more time we spend in the presence of Christ’s Spirit, the more Christ-like we will become. The seven Blocks are:

  • W is for Worship: a deep commitment to regular Sunday worship.
  • Q is for Quiet Time: regular two-way communication with God.
  • C is for Connection: participation in spiritually-focused small groups.
  • S is for Service: using my gifts to serve the church and the world.
  • G is for Generosity: giving to God’s work on earth.
  • D is for Discipleship Decision: intentional commitment to follow in the way of Christ.
  • ? is for the Mystery Block: other practices (not listed above) that draw you close to Christ.

What should I do with these Building Blocks? Construct a plan! Take charge of your spiritual life by creating your own personal Soul Care Plan, using the Building Blocks as your raw materials. We’re all at different places on our journeys, so each one of us needs to prayerfully consider which Blocks are right for us at this point in time. We offer a Worksheet that will walk you through the process of creating your own Plan. Why not give it a try?

Why should I? Because of what Jesus says in our Scripture reading today. Today’s story is about an immensely successful business man. His business grows so rapidly he can barely keep up. The crush of daily demands consumes him. But he convinces himself that this is just short-term — in a few more years things will slow down and then he will finally be able to kick back, retire, and live the good life.

We do the same thing. Few of us are satisfied with the level of time and energy we invest in our spiritual development. We fantasize of a day in the future when we’ll be able to really focus on building our relationship with God. But not now! Heavens, not now! We have so much pressing business!

The truth is, there will never be a good time to turn our attention to spiritual matters. Life will always throw us another alligator. At some point, we’ve just got to put our foot down.

Your soul is the only eternal part of you. It is the key to living well not just in the next world, but in this one. Don’t waste another month delaying tending to the most important part of yourself. Start draining the swamp today!

Thought for the day: What’s keeping you from preparing a Soul Care Plan?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.