As we all know by now, this has been quite the winter in Portland. Growing up in northern Indiana, I experienced more snow than I care to remember and while I know I should feel like a “pro” when it comes to navigating the snow, Indiana does not get ice like Oregon and Indiana does not have hills like Oregon! Ruth and I were trying to figure out this week how many days each of our work offices have been closed due to the weather this winter and it seems like we’ve had nearly a 7-day week of closings. All that to say, for Ruth and I, we’ve enjoyed the extra time together and have appreciated the God-given opportunities to slow down. How wonderful it was on Wednesday morning to see the beauty of the undisturbed snow that had fallen all over our neighborhood. And how nice it is to have a coffee shop within walking distance from our place to go have a warm drink on a cold morning.
But as I’ve thought about these snow days some more, I can’t help but think that not everyone may be considering these snow days as a welcome “day off”—and for good reason. Undoubtedly, there are small businesses losing money, people losing valuable time at work, teachers having to work around lost school days, deadlines being missed, and countless other challenges that come when a city has to all but shut down. Not to mention the thousands who went without power and those without shelter who have to endure the elements.
I don’t say this to make us feel guilty about enjoying a snow day because I think that we should enjoy the blessing and the gift of being able to slow down. It is good for many of us to be forced out of our routine because it reminds us that we are not in control and that there is only One who truly is in control. I was and am, however, struck by how limited and narrow my perspective was in all of this. It took several of these snow days to finally stop thinking about how this affected just me and those closest to me and to start thinking of how these days might affect others. And so, yet again, I am reminded of that pesky sin nature of ours that so easily and so readily puts me first and others second. I am also reminded, though, of the God-Man, Jesus Christ, who came and made it so that we no longer have to be ruled by our sin nature, but we can now live according to His Spirit:
“5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
And as we set our minds on the things of the Spirit, we find that gradually, we start to move from “Me to We.” We’ll discover more about this truth on Sunday.