A beautiful summer morning. Awoke soon after five, and, on a whim, decided to drive twenty miles to take a photograph for today’s blog post.
I’d seen the sign a few days ago as I drove through the village. One of those portable, yellow signs in black frames that you can rent and set on your sidewalk or at the end of your driveway to advertise anything from a garage sale to someone’s birthday. My photographer friend has told me that getting a good picture is more likely in early morning light than when the sun is high overhead. So at 6:00 a.m., off I went.
The sign was still on the sidewalk in front of the church, but the black letters were gone…just a blank yellow rectangle stared at me and asked why in the world I drove all that way just for a photo. At that point, I wondered, too, why I had bothered.
But the words I had seen earlier this week had stayed with me. The sign had read:
Today, God Is First
Great idea for a blog, right? We all need to stick a T.G.I.F. reminder up on our bathroom mirror or over our kitchen sink. Jesus said the greatest, Number 1 commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. That’s everything I’ve got! Is God my passion, my heart and soul and the one thing that colors my perspective on everything I think about? When I’m working on a project I’m passionate about, other things are ignored–dirty dishes, dusty house, beautiful day outside, maybe even social events I had planned on–my passion for a project can put all those things in a secondary place. Is my passion, my thirst for God the most important thing in my life?
But the words were gone, the sign was blank, and now my photo was impossible. All the thoughts I’d been arranging for this post started slipping away, too.
As I drove the twenty miles home thinking about that sign, I realized the vanished message had actually sent me a stronger reminder. Just as those black letters had so quickly disappeared, so does my own resolve that T.G.I.F.
How often I begin my day determined that T.G.I.F., but then all kinds of other things crowd into my heart and soul and mind; and, somehow, I let that T.G.I.F. slip away. My desire to give my heart and soul and mind to Him and Him alone can dissolve and drift away as easily as black letters are removed from a portable sign. I lose sight of that Number 1 commandment that should be guiding my entire day and I’m tossed about and sent off course. Father, forgive my distraction and wandering!
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me (Ps. 51:10 NLT). The NIV uses the phrase “a steadfast spirit.” I want that morning T.G.I.F. to take me through the entire day, all day, every day. I want a clean heart, a steadfast spirit that is not detoured by events and circumstances of the day. I want to live through all of today guided by a heart and soul and mind that is devoted to the one I call Lord.
Yet one more lesson from the yellow signs:
At about mile 13 of the 20-mile drive home, these thoughts were coming into focus and I decided what I really needed for this new post was a photo of a blank yellow sign. So I started looking. (No! I was not going to backtrack 13 miles!)
Do you realize how many yellow signs are out there? They’re everywhere. Hardwood Furniture for Sale. Fresh Produce. Sale on Firewood. Huge Garage Sale. But I didn’t find one more blank sign. Photography foiled again.
Lesson: We all have our signs out that proclaim what we’re about. Maybe it’s our business. Maybe it’s our social lives. Maybe it’s dollars. Maybe it’s the things we own. Maybe our sign simply spells out our name, in BIG BOLD letters.
Or maybe our sign says T.G.I.F.
Spirit, give us steadfast hearts.