We are probably not so familiar with the word ‘ponder’ as we are with words like ‘think about’ or ‘consider’ or ‘contemplate’ or a term used frequently by our Pastor, ‘reflect upon’. All these words have the same connotation, that of thinking through a matter at a deeper level rather than a superficial one.
In this age of virtual reality, giving us fleeting images, instant messaging, sound bites and demands on our time, energy and money from all directions, it is sometimes difficult to determine what is actually valuable, true, real and worth holding on to. How much we need to make time to stop and take stock, to prayerfully ponder (reflect on or consider) what the important things are that God wants us to be spending our time, energy and finances on.
To those busily engaged with the daily pressures of work, family, school and church, the idea of taking time out to ‘stop and stare’, to ponder and pray, seems an unrealistic although much longed for aspiration. Nevertheless, whatever our situation, we all need to do what we can to carve out those times in our busy schedules when we can ‘take a spiritual breath’, turn our eyes from earth to heaven and re-set our spiritual compass.
However, we don’t always need to stop what we are doing to reflect on things, but can ponder in our heart as Mary did. We read in Luke 2:19 and and Luke 2:51 that ‘she kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often’ (NLT). No doubt she was always busy caring for a baby and then a growing boy but she ‘treasured’ things of eternal value in her heart.
As we approach the uncertainties of another new year, may we resolve to make time to ‘Fix our thoughts on what is true and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable and to think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise’ (Philippians 4:8, NLT).
Although in old English, the words from the hymn by Joachim Neander capture something of these thoughts. ‘Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work, and defend thee! Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee. Ponder anew what the Almighty can do, who with His love doth befriend thee’.
Prayer: Dear Lord. Please forgive me for allowing my mind to become so crowded with the affairs of daily living that I don’t always give You Your rightful place. Please help me to adjust the balance and make time to think of You and to be aware of Your presence in my life. Amen.
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