On a recent trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, my family and I took a tour of the battlefields. We learned about the battle, and we learned about the life of those involved. According to Bob, our tour guide, it is believed that half of the soldiers from the confederacy did not have shoes. As we looked out across the sometimes rocky ground, I could not imagine the pain they must have endured. There were many places that were uneven. During the three-day battle, many soldiers died, so there would have been dead bodies and blood all around. The soldiers on both sides of the battle had many difficulties to face, but I had trouble thinking beyond their feet. I imagine there were also soldiers from the union that did not have shoes as well, but they were closer to their supplies.
While I have never had to go without shoes, I have gone unprepared into more situations that I would care to admit. The majority of us have access to the basics, but we sometimes do not take the time to be prepared. We think that we are too busy or that we can get by with skipping the essentials. The essentials are not are shoes, but they are other things. How many times have you gone without a coat because you were just going to be outside a minute? As bustle into a store, all you can think about is getting to the warmth of the store rather than practicing hospitality. In your hurry and focus on warmth, you might miss the person who is struggling with her cart. Or, you might miss the person who has come to the store looking for some human interaction. The person looks your way, hoping to be noticed, but you rush by in an effort to get quickly inside.
There are other things we miss as well. We miss taking the time with our family. We rush out to start our day without appreciating their presence in our lives. We fail to say, “I love you.” We rush into our own offices rather than greeting those in our building. We ignore the people in the lobby. We are focused on getting to our work on time. What if we added five minutes to our morning. What if we took the time to notice our families and co-workers? Would their day be better? Would our day be better?
Finally, we often put our spiritual life on hold. We know that it is not a pressing obvious part of our lives, so we just ignore it. We don’t take the time to explore our beliefs or practice our faith. We fail to spend time in worship or prayer. There are way too many practical matters that need our attention. God will understand if we do not pray everyday. God knows how much stress we are under. God does know us and understand the pressure of everyday living. That is another reason we need to spend time with God. We must make the living out of our faith an essential of our daily lives, just like putting on our shoes. As we devote time to our faith, then we are uplifted and transformed. We are able to see the world around us differently because of the vision that God gives to us.
Make a choice to include not only the physical essentials, but all other essentials as well so that you are not forced to battle without them.