MONDAY MEDITATION: The Difficult Art of Staying Awake (October 31)

Elijah opened his eyes and saw flatbread baked on glowing coals and a jar of water right by his head. He ate and drank, and then went back to sleep. –– 1 Kings 19:6

If an angel tapped me on the shoulder, pointed to a freshly-divinely baked breakfast, and told me to enjoy it, there is one thing most definitely I would not have done: I would not have gone back to sleep. Yet, that’s what Elijah did.

The context is that the prophet was tired and depressed. So, even coffee and the supernatural–an angel–could not prevent him from going back to bed.

That’s something easily relatable. How often have you been passionate about something, throw your whole energy into it, and then have everything blow up in your face? Elijah’s defeat in the previous chapter was so demoralizing that he ignored angels. His lament a couple of verses earlier summarized his feeling: “It’s more than enough, Lord! Take my life because I’m no better than my ancestors.”

That’s also his fatal flaw, exposed. “I’m no better than my ancestors.” Our ego gets in the way of our calling at times, doesn’t it. “No better than.” Was serving God–was following what you felt compelled to do–a competition? Certainly we want to be recognized and rewarded for our work, but if we don’t receive it, does that warrant going to bed and refusing to stay awake?

Ultimately, our work is service to a cause/dream well beyond our own ego boundaries. Following our passion to make this world a better place, and winning or losing in so doing, is what counts. God does wonders with mustard seeds, right? And at the end of the day, we can go to sleep and dream.

When the angel taps us for our next mission, we’ll eat that breakfast and start out on our next journey.

Wide awake.

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