He replied, "My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice."
Our granddaughter, Virginia Rose, never ceases to amaze and amuse us. She loves to try new things and manages to manipulate objects in the most unique and unexpected of ways. Whether it's collecting leaves from our deck and tossing them over the edge to see how they float to the ground, observing ants cruise along the railings, or yanking on the clothesline to make it dance frenetically, Virginia makes a game out of everything.
And, like any other three-year-old, Virginia is full of questions which she asks with regularity. If I answer her in a way that tickles her funny bone, she will laugh and say, "Try again!" Of course, I say the same silly words I just spoke, and hear another "try again" until Virginia has her fill of entertainment from that particular episode.
Do I tire of repeating myself? Honestly, yes, I do. But, the delight on Virginia's face more than makes up for any boredom on my part.
And, this exercise reminds me of what it means to practice, continually, anything and everything we wish to become better at doing. It may feel like drudgery - practicing scales when we want to play chords - but, when we try again, try again, try again, one day we find we have reached that goal. And, our music flows freely and flawlessly.
It is the same with our Christian walk. Jesus tells us that it's not enough to simply hear the Word of God, we must put it into practice. And, it's not a just-on-Sunday-show-up-at-church kind of deal. This means engaging with God daily through the Bible, in prayer, and in how we treat our family and friends, neighbors and strangers.
Because, if we don't practice our faith regularly, we will never get past the scales in our lives in order to joyfully play our song all the way through to the end.
Will we have failures and setbacks along the way? No doubt about it. But, we have the reassurance of Jesus' grace and forgiveness. He understands those times when we don't get things right. When we fail to trust Him. And, forget to put our faith into practice.
When we fall, He is right there. Picking us up. Brushing us off.
And, saying, "Try again!"
When have you heard the Lord telling you to try again?
Prayer: Today, Father, we are thankful for the spontaneity and curiosity of children whose words and actions ever help us to see that Your kingdom is at hand. When the weight of the world is upon us and we feel like we are failing You, let us hear Your comforting voice telling us to "try again." In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.