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The Apple of His Eye

February 1, 2021

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40: 31).

It is said that the first Apple computers were built in the late 1970’s in Steve Jobs parents’ garage in Los Altos, California.  The Northern California home is a designated historical site.  Great accomplishments often have modest beginnings.

Jesus Christ, God’s only Son and the apple of his eye, also had a modest start.  He was born in Bethlehem to ordinary people, and raised in Nazareth, a Roman outpost.  The Romans divided Israel into three sections:  Galilee, Samaria, and Judea.  Galilee, in the north, consisted of about 250 towns in an area about 60 miles long and 30 miles wide, west of the Sea of Galilee.  Most of Jesus’ ministry occurred in this area.  

The primary trade route connecting Mesopotamia to Egypt was the Via Maris, which ran along the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee.  While Galilee was primarily an agricultural area, Gentiles from all over the world traveled the Via Maris through Galilee, and were exposed to Jesus’ ministry. 

We visited Israel just over a year ago and toured Capernaum, a fishing village in Jesus’ day on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus stayed with Peter and his family in Capernaum.  Peter’s house is a stone’s throw from the synagogue.  After preaching at the synagogue, Jesus went home with Peter and found Peter’s mother-in-law sick in bed.  Mark reports that after Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law, “Jesus replied, ‘Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also.  That is why I have come.’  So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons” (Mark 1:38-39).[1]  

It was from those modest beginnings, in a short three-year period, that a revolution was born that rocked the world—a revolution far beyond the computer revolution that began in the 1970’s in Silicon Valley.

As God’s adopted children, we are the apple of his eye as well.  God protects us as we protect our children.  He gives us hope: “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak . . . those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40: 31).  The psalmist confirms that the Lord “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147: 3).  

God loves the tired, the brokenhearted, the disenfranchised, the weak, the hurting, the fearful, the lonely, the ill, the bedridden, the frustrated, the humiliated, the frightened, the despairing, and the injured. That’s you and me.  He doesn’t promise us a life without pain, but he promises to shore us up if we turn to him, and to give us the strength to carry on.  

God doesn’t guarantee that you will start a Fortune 500 company, find a cure for cancer, or be Time magazine’s Person of the Year, but nothing is wasted in his economy, including your efforts.  You may never know the influence you have had on others during your lifetime.   Your Father knows, and he will guide you in directions where your special abilities and talents can be used.  

Apple didn’t spring up overnight.  Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak invested much time and effort into creating their first product, the Apple 1 desktop computer.  Anything worthwhile requires substantial effort and discipline. Paul points out that what we do in God’s name requires self-discipline: “Do you know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize.   Everyone who competes goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly. . .” (1 Corinthians 9: 24-26).  

As Christians, we grow in personal holiness by exercising discipline over various areas of daily living—eating, drinking, exercising, working, and sleeping habits, how we manage our time and money, and the entertainment and recreation we choose.  And most importantly, how much effort we put into growing closer to God by spending time in the Word, in study, in prayer, and with his followers.  If God is the center of your life, the other things will fall harmoniously into place. 

Paul notes that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  This means that it is a gift from the Holy Spirit that we receive by grace, through faith.  Ask God to help guide you to exercise self-control over various aspects of your life. 

Don’t drift aimlessly from day-to-day.  Pay attention to where God is leading you through your study of the Word and your prayer life, through the talents and gifts you have been given, through the opportunities placed in your path, and through your interaction with others.  God will bind up your wounds; he will heal you, and will give you the strength to carry on. He will inspire you to use your talents to further his kingdom.  And he won’t give up on you.  He will stay with you and will carry you over the finish line.

 Keep your eye on “the crown that will last forever,” and you will reap dividends far greater than those paid by Apple, Inc.

Prayer: Merciful Father, we thank and praise you for adopting us as your children through Your Son, Jesus Christ.   Forgive us and free us from the bondage of our sins.  Awaken the Spirit that lives within us so everything that we do is centered around You.  We know that our lives get out of whack when we are are centered around something other than you.  Send your Spirit to encourage us to keep our hopes and desires aligned with the plans that you have for us.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  Amen 

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1] The Scripture texts for the Fifth Sunday After Epiphany are Isaiah 40: 21-31; Psalm 147: 1-11; 1 Corinthians 9: 16-27; Mark 1: 29-39.  Another version of this blog was published on this website in February 2018.

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