The story is told of a glass vase that was a family heirloom passed from generation to generation. It was kept on the corner of the highest shelf in the living room, placed there for all to see and admire but also to be beyond the reach of young fingers and elbows.
Eventually, it was forgotten. Day after day of neglect caused the slow shifting of the house to nudge the glass vase toward the edge of the shelf until it was teetering perilously.
One last jog through the living room by the youngest member of the family decided its fate. The glass vase fell with a thunderous crash and shattered into a thousand pieces.
Neglect does that. Regardless of how valuable a treasure may be, inattention causes a perilous teetering that can result in a shattering of a thousand pieces.
So it goes with faith.
Our treasured asset of the wonderment of grace requires daily attention. As Johnnie Moore says, “Faith is a fragile thing, and it’s easier to fake than flourish. If you don’t live out grace in your everyday life, your faith will end up on a respirator” (Dirty God, 82).
The early church seemed to understand this. “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts” (Acts 2:46). “They received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11).
As a result of daily attention, God brought about daily results: “So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers” (Acts 16:5).
If we seek daily results, we need daily commitment. I wonder if one of the reasons why some churches aren’t growing is because they put their focus on one day a week rather than on every day of the week.
Daily attentiveness to one’s faith does not flow out of a motivation of guilt or performance-based religion. Our daily attentiveness flows out of a motivation of love where we desire to be in the presence of Jesus. We desire to commune with Him. We long to be filled daily with His Spirit.
Isaiah wrote, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you” (Isaiah 26:3). There is a direct link—a causal relationship—between a focused mind and perfect peace. In other words, attentiveness to our relationship with Jesus keeps the glass vase in the center of the shelf.
I encourage you this week not to look at daily spiritual disciplines as arduous tasks to be maintained but joyful activities of attentive faith. Perhaps then the wonderment of grace will be resurrected from the weariness of neglect.
“My tongue will proclaim your righteousness, your praises all … day … long” (Psalm 35:28).