Wednesday’s Word of the Day: Seek

14 12 2011

Today’s word is seek.  The word means to go to or towards, make an effort or attempt, try to get or reach, discover, or try to establish the existence of.  Out of these multiple meanings, we can find a common thread: positive movement toward something.  Usually, I get stuck try to discover the location of my keys, which some elf has moved from the place that I left them (but that is a post for another time).  Monday, I wrote about living in the moment.  As I was writing, I thought of the difference between living in the moment and living for the moment.  The difference, I believe, is seeking, or more accurately what is sought.

The word comes from the Old English secan-to visit, inquire, pursue which is itself rooted in the Latin sagire– to perceive quickly or keenly.  Before I said that the difference between in the moment and for the moment is what they seek, and looking at the roots of the word, the connection seems clear.  People who live for the moment are mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally absent in the present.  They do not pursue relationship with and can lack empathy and compassion for others.

People who live for the moment are disconnected because they are pursuing the next thing.  These people seek different kinds of highs, the next fortune, the next fix, the next relationship, the next insight, and so on.  They can be fun for a while, but since they are consumed with “next,” they have no depth.  Their relationships often remain shallow, impersonal, and flat. Press them beyond their interests and their eyes glaze over.  Their responses less direct.  As they discover that they can’t get what they want from you, they withdraw and search for others to give it to them.  These people are described in Proverbs as ones who will become poor becaue they search for pleasures,  and in James as ones who covet what they cannot have.  Ultimately, unless they give up this way of living, their lives will end in emptiness and unfulfillment.

At this point, my confession is that I act like a thrill seeker more often than I want to admit.  I have an Android phone, which comes with so many apps, that I get lost in the phone (I can’t tell you the number of times that I have installed and uninstalled Angry Birds).  I bless the LORD for the insight into my selfishness, and shows me the way out of it.  So how can we shift from for to in?  How can we remain physically and emotionally present?  I’ve found encouragement in the bible starting in Jeremiah 29 because the Israelites are encouraged to seek the Lord with their whole hearts.  When they do, they will find Him.  In another verse, (Isaiah 55:6) “Seek the LORD while he may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.” Jesus also commended that we seek the Kingdom of God first rather than temporal things.  The central theme of these verses is that seeking God is a primary, whole-hearted occupation.

Once we start this work, we realize the need for more instruction.  While scripture does not give specifics, Jesus does tell us what is most important, relationships.  Consider Matthew 11:37-39, Jesus says The greatest commandment is to love God, and the second is to love  your neighbor.  Not just like God, as if you clicked the like button on His Facebook page, but Love him.  With your everything.  Leaving nothing in reserve.  Additionally, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.  I am not sure what this means exactly, but I believe it begins in accepting ourselves as Christ sees us, being full of His love for us, and unconditionally giving that affection to others.  Essentially, we need to seek community with others, joining them in their joys and in their trials.

One author defines this community as fellowship.  This fellowship is family, a body, one spirit, proving Jesus love by forgiving each other continually.  This is how we show the world who Jesus is.  This is how we communicate the Gospel.  In living in community, in the moment, we fulfill Jesus commandment to love one another as He has loved us.

Do you live in or for the moment? How are your relationships? Start with Jesus, love people, listen to their hearts, and when appropriate share your own. 

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