Wallow in the simple joys, says Rev Chris Sparks

"LET'S do lunch today" I said to myself - for Janine was at an OH&S training day in Lismore and we don't have a dog, cat or budgie for me to talk to. Or even a goldfish. It was incumbent upon me therefore to reply to myself, lest I be thought rude. "Okay" I said: "Where?" The possibilities were endless, but I smiled and congratulated myself upon a quick and decisive response: "Juan's Café!"

Did the fact that Juan's Café happens to be in Dorrigo, that the sky was blue and I would need to negotiate the winding back-road through Nymboida and Tyringham influence my choice? Anyway, the bike was wheeled out, given a quick wash and the oil checked. Then we were off - my trusty adventure bike and I - deliriously happy to be together on one of the finest biking roads on the Eastern Seaboard. I didn't even feel guilty that I'd abandoned the task previously set for the day: writing this column!

The day turned out to be every bit as satisfying as I'd hoped and anticipated. Lunch was great, the weather cool (in every sense of the word) and the ride exhilarating. I'm sure we tend to over-think things and in the process, become too anxious about what we should or shouldn't be doing.

It's then that our focus tends to become too concentrated on the black spot in the centre of the white page. We live in a big world, and to enjoy it as God intended we need to see the big picture and maintain a strong sense of perspective. Yes, this is not all that easy to do in a world as interactive and complex as ours. Small problems can become magnified to the extent that they begin to fill our entire field of vision and enslave us by claiming absolute priority over everything else. So this becomes fertile ground for despair and a growing sense of hopelessness.

We really need to just get out there and wallow exuberantly in the simple joys of life so that our spirits are constantly refreshed and revitalised.

Jesus - the bible - makes it abundantly clear that we were specifically created to love and enjoy life, and that this is possible when we value a clear focus on the blessings and joys that surround us.

Failure to recognise blessings and to feel gratitude for the many good things in life can have dire consequences for some.

Unfortunately, true faith and trust in God, and a commitment to live the way he's prescribed is not sexy anymore. We tend to have trashed that truth through deliberate choice or sheer neglect, and there's little or no substance in what we embrace to fill that void. Consumerism and a preoccupation with physical things is really no substitute for a deep spirituality that feeds the soul and teaches us eternal truths about sacrificial, self-giving love.

So, instead of worrying about people and situations we have little or no control over, we should instead listen much more carefully to Jesus as he urges us not to be anxious about the little, inconsequential things of life, but to trust God in every circumstance - for no one knows us better or cares for us more! And that, I believe, is the truth!

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