Matthew 9:9-13, Matthew

The scripture reading, the reflection or the prayer – at least one of them is going to speak to you each day. For me today it was the prayer.

I was all set to start writing about Matthew (who is called Levi in Mark and Luke’s gospel). I quickly read through the reflection, checked out a few other gospel references and started working on my response to the reflection. I decided to re-read the reflection one more time and then I checked the prayer. Whamo – the Spirit got me right between the eyes. I had the wrong focus.

I had been worried that I would not have the discipline to write a devotional thought each day, or that they may not be what others wanted to read. I was so proud of myself because I have completed 13 daily devotions so far (including this one). Using my advanced mathematical skills, I calculated that if there were 47 days in Lent and I have done 13, then I have 34 more devotionals to go. Could I do that many? Just think, by the time we get to Easter I will have done 47 of these, that is almost as many sermons as I preach in a year (writing these are truly like writing a mini sermon each day). Then I read the prayer, “keep me from merely putting on a show of my devotion.”

Quality not Quantity. I was so focused on the numbers – how many I’d done; how many I would do before Easter – that I forgot to appreciate what the Spirit was doing with all of us by spending time with God every day. This isn’t supposed to be a task that we check off when completed and count the days, it is time to spend with a friend. I don’t keep track of how many times I have had coffee with a good friend, do you? The point is not the numbers of devotions we read or write, what matters is the quality of the conversation.

I pray that we will all focus on being vehicles of God’s mercy (because that’s the rest of today’s prayer).