"The foundational work of man is to nurture the place of encounter with his Maker."
This is a quote from Allen Hood that really struck me when I read it yesterday. I think the context that Allen wrote it in has more to do with "nurturing the place of encounter" by worshiping, praying and simply just spending time with the Lord. But when I read it I took it from another angle and it made me think about all of the things one needs to do in order to nurture the heart, soul, and mind so that you are ready for that place of encounter.
It's kind of like this...
On Sunday night I hung out with my dad and stepmom and some of their friends. We went to the Main China Buffet and we all ate a lot of food. I love Chinese so I fully enjoyed two platefuls of food. I enjoyed them so much that my stomach began to cramp and I realized that I totally overdid the eating thing. Generally over-stuffing yourself at a buffet is enough to give you an upset stomach for an evening but once morning comes you are good to go again. Well, I must have really overdone it because once morning came, my digestive system was clearly not functioning properly. The major problem with this was that I had to go to the gym for another session with my personal trainer.
As I got in the car for the drive to the gym, my body was crying out for me to go back in the house and sleep for another 3 hours while the digestive issues subsided. But I knew it was too late to reschedule and so I simply had to face the consequences of my poor eating choices the night before at the China Buffet. Well, about 30 minutes into a pretty intense workout I thought I was going to die, pass out, or at least puke all over my trainer. But I held it in and finished the rest of the hour, probably not performing as well as I could have had I not just gorged on spicy beef, frog legs, and that oh so delicious stuffed seafood roll.
Moral of the story... I did not nurture my body for the place of encounter at the gym that morning. Instead I thought little of my nutritious intake and partied hard at the Buffet. But of course, having this experience the very morning before I read this lovely quote by Hood really helped me to grasp this concept of nurturing the place of encounter with my Maker. For instance, if I spend 3 hours in front of the television (don't worry Carol, you have taught me well and this is just an example) the evening before I am to go spend 3 hours in the Prayer Room at IHOPNW, that place of encounter is going to be a little harder to engage in.
Whatever you let enter that is not of God, whether it be sexual immorality, gluttony (yes I already repented), jealousy, pride, you name it, if you enter that place of encounter with those things fresh on our plate, then that place of encounter is going to be compromised. You'll end up spending all of your encounter time repenting and seeking forgiveness and probably falling into a pattern of guilt and shame instead of focusing on the BEAUTY of the Lord. Of course the Lord is ready for those things, because He wants to release you from that guilt and shame and forgive you for eating too much at the buffet, but there are a lot of things that you and I can do to better prepare ourselves and nurture our heart and mind so that we can enter that place of encounter fully ready to engage with the heart of the Lord. And there are a lot of things I can do to better nurture my body for that place of encounter at the gym!