I am an emeritus professor from Cornell University and was a Commissioned Lay Preacher in the Presbyterian Church (USA). For many years I have followed the Daily Lectionary as printed in the Mission Yearbook of my church. For each day of a two-year cycle, the lectionary lists four psalms and three other scriptural passages--usually one from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament. My practice is to copy down a verse or two from one of the psalms and from each of the other three passages. After I have written out all four selections, I reflect upon them, rearrange their order, and incorporate them into a meditation. Sometimes I retain much of the original wording; sometimes all that remains of a selection is an idea that was stimulated when I read the original words. All selections are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. For the Daily Lectionary, see the link below.

Service, or Chasing after Wind?--May 30, 2016

Gracious God, when we consider what
our hands have done, and the toil
we have spent in doing it,

if it was done to seek human approval--
done to please others for ourselves --
then whatever treasures we have
accumulated are all a vanity,
a chasing after wind.

But what we do in faithful service to
Christ, and for him to others,
can never be in vain.

In your righteousness train us
for your kingdom, that
in faithfulness we
may serve you.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 57; 145; 85; 47
Eccl. 2:1-15
Gal. 1:1-17
Matt. 13:44-52
Selected Verses
Ps. 85:11
Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,
          and righteousness will look down from the sky. 

Eccl. 2:11
Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had spent in doing it, and again, all was vanity and a chasing after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

Gal. 1:10
Am I now seeking human approval, or God's approval?  Or am I trying to please people?  If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Matt. 13:52
And [Jesus] said to [his disciples], "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old."

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