January 1, 2021
Isaiah 40:8 (NIV)
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.
What are the two most important words of the day? I’m glad you asked. My take: the first word and the last word. Who gets the first word in your day? Who gets the last word?
I have a confession. In recent months, I realized my slow drift into giving Instagram the first word of my day. It was simple and benign; just a simple scroll through the photos my friends posted over the last half day or so. Then this realization: Netflix was getting the last word of my day. Before drifting off to sleep I would watch the next episode of some show that had caught my attention along the way. First word: Instagram. Last word: Netflix.
Days become weeks. Weeks become months. Months become years. And days, weeks, months, and years become us. Our lives consist not in the big decisions and banner events dotting our calendars but in the little things we consistently do day after day after day. We are what we do . . . every single day.
Back to the question about the two most important words of the day: the first word and the last word. Each one of us has within our stewardship the ability to decide who will get those words in our lives. You know where this is headed. But first let me tell you what happened with my Instagram-Netflix ways. The problem with me so often is the way I want to make Instagram and Netflix the problem when they aren’t the problem. The problem is with me and the misspent priority of my own heart. So I didn’t decide to delete Instagram and swear off Netflix. Instead, I decided I would shift the priority of my heart. I determined to give the Word of God the first word and the last word of my days. More on that to come later.
Though my day be filled with a thousand distractions and a hundred course corrections, it is now determined—my day will be framed, surrounded with, enclosed by the Word of God. First Word. Last Word. God’s Word.
So with that setup, here’s the First Word—Last Word text to begin with at any time, anywhere, on any occasion: The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.
Consider the stark simplicity and brazen boldness of this word from the prophet Isaiah. Everything is ephemeral. Only one thing is eternal: the Word of God. Next to the front door of our home, the one we enter and exit through most every time, is a chalkboard. On the chalkboard are written these words: The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. I read it at least once every single day. I say it aloud so my ears can hear it. Can I possibly be reminded enough that everything around me is passing away save one thing: the Word of God? Can I possibly be encouraged enough to build my life on the singular enduring reality of the Word of God? First Word. Last Word. God’s Word.
This will be the point of the next twenty-seven days on the Daily Text. Each day we will gather around a different text from somewhere across the Bible. The invitation will be to allow the Scripture text itself to speak both the first and the last word of our day. Write the text for the day in a journal, on a notecard, a white board, or a chalk board, and make it a simple act of worship each morning to read it aloud as the first Word of the day and to read it aloud at the close as the last Word of the day.
Along the way we will reflect together on how to increase the priority and prominence and woven-ness of the Word of God in our everyday lives. If we will give ourselves to the gentle work of this way of walking together, I suspect we will find pathways of delight and devotion winding through the wilderness of this world and the sanctuaries of our souls we never imagined existed. And something tells me these First Word—Last Word—God’s Word paths will find their way into this month, the next month, and so on.
Our Father in heaven, thank you for your Word, which endures forever. Thank you for seeing that it was written down in a book that is available to us. Thank you for sending your Son, who brought this Word into human flesh, and thank you for your Spirit who would bring this Word into our own lives and breath and give us the substance of eternal endurance. Open my mind and my heart to your Word like never before. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Are you ready for the First Word—Last Word—God’s Word challenge? Will you really do it?
For the Awakening,