Dear church,

You have things to do today. In your mind, you might have a checklist – work, groceries, chores, home maintenance, parenting, hobbies. This thing you are doing now, reading your Bible and praying, is just a small part of your day. Soon your devotional time will be over, and you will move on to other things. Those other things are good, not bad – at least if you do them to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Jacob saw the ladder and understood himself to be in God’s presence – the very house of God. And we know the ladder now to be Jesus Christ himself (John 1:51). The path to heaven is by way of Jesus only. And a part of us wants to ascend that ladder all the way to heaven right now. We might want to be swept up into spiritual things, up and out of this world, leaving the dust and the grime behind. 

Certain “spiritualities” in our culture advocate for just this kind of thing. We are made for so much more than this, and we ought to meditate or pray to rise above this earthly existence. We want to transcend all of this and enter into some spiritual space where we can really worship or live in freedom. 

But the fact remains: You have things to do today. God didn’t call you out of the world. He came to you in the world. The incarnation of Jesus Christ includes the idea that the divine came down and lived among us. Jesus ate and drank and worked, just like us. In doing so, he showed us what a holy life looks like, and he promised to sanctify the lives of his followers in the here and now. 

Jacob understood something about this. He marked the place of his vision with a stone. He gave it a name. He etched it in memory with a ritual. And then he went about his business. “Then Jacob went on his journey …” (Genesis 29:1). Jacob was made for that time and that place and to do the things that he had been called to do. He had things to do that day.

The life we live here on earth is precious. Your coming day is precious. It is in these days that we are given the opportunity to walk with God – even as we are still emerging from our own sinfulness. 

We ought to think deeply about what God is doing in our lives today. I am sure Jacob was eager for the fulfillment of God’s promises to him and his family. God had told him what God was going to do. All of that was coming. It was on the way even at that moment. 

But in the meantime, Jacob had a life to live for God. God wasn’t going to snatch Jacob out of the world. God wanted to bring his promises into the world through Jacob. 

This is why your to-do list is important. Now that you’ve opened your Bible, and now that you have prayed, and now that you have worshipped, and now that you have revisited the promises of God for his children, it’s time for you to go about your day.

Just as God was doing some very specific things through the life of Jacob, so he has some specific things he wants to do through our lives. Jacob carried the promise with him, and so do we.

Understanding this is important when we come to those unpleasant or seemingly worthless parts of our day. Sometimes we encounter people or situations that are difficult or disappointing. So we recall we are people of the promise. God has said he has a good plan for us – and he has a good plan for the world through us. 

If we know that, it might change how we respond to the people and situations we encounter today.

Chris

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