Seward United Methodist Church
Monday, October 15, 2018
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Missing the Forest for the Trees

Mark 16:1-8

I find it interesting how sometimes in the midst of life-changing moments, we get distracted by the small, practical details of life. In our story from the Gospel of Mark this morning, Jesus has died. Jesus, the beloved teacher and friend of these women, has died. He’s gone. And the Gospels make it pretty clear that they were not expecting him to rise from the dead. And as they walk to the tomb, instead of talking about, “What do we do now? How do we go on without Jesus?” they ask, “Who’s going to roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

Certainly, it was a concern at the moment. Somehow or another, they had to get in to finish the preparation of his body for burial. And they figured the stone across the entrance to the tomb was too heavy for them to move. But it just doesn’t seem like it was all that important compared to the reality that Jesus is dead.

Maybe this is normal. Maybe we just can’t deal with the immense realities of life when something big happens, so we focus instead on some small, practical detail, something that we can deal with. We focus on finding something we need, fixing something that’s not working, wondering what to make for supper; because we can deal with those things.

In the midst of this anxiety over a small detail, the really important thing happens: Jesus has risen. He is alive. Death is defeated. He’s alive and now they need to share the news. Who cares about rolling away the stone!

Sometimes we miss the forest for the trees. We worry a lot about all the little daily things and we forget about what really matters. Often we take the important things for granted. Two of the things we seem to take for granted the most are our own health and well being and our personal relationships. We seldom think about them until it becomes a crisis. We have a heart attack or we get diagnosed with cancer, and then we start to worry about our health. We have a big blow-up with a spouse or a child or a friend, and then we start to worry about that relationship. It’s a lot easier to tend to those things before they become a crisis, but we don’t always do that like we should.

There’s one other thing that we should never forget or take for granted: Someday our life will end. And when that happens, it’s too late to seek God. We have to seek him while there is still time. In John 12, Jesus said, “Walk in the light while you can… Put your trust in the light while there is still time.” Implied in that message is that

the time is not unlimited. There will come a time when we can’t put our trust in the light.

The urgent things of life, the things that cry out for attention right now, are seldom important. And the important things of life seldom become urgent. Your relationship with God is the most important thing of all. Are you right in your relationship with God? Are you taking that relationship for granted? God has provided a way. But it’s up to us to receive his gift and to walk in God’s way. We don’t want to be asking a mundane question like, “Who will roll the stone away?” or “Where did I put my keys?” of “What should we eat tonight?” on our way to the grave.

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