Short Bible Study

A Groundhog Day Devotion

Joshua Crawford

“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?”  This is the complaint of the crabby weatherman Phil Connors, Bill Murray’s character in the 1993 film, Groundhog Day, after he finds himself perpetually living out the February 2nd holiday in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, his least favorite day of the year.  At one point, Phil wishes he could repeat a more pleasurable, decadent day over and over and not a day spent celebrating “a large squirrel predicting the weather.”  If we’re honest, our lives aren’t completely dissimilar from this movie as the majority of life is spent doing the same tasks with same people, and yes, we often wish for more exciting days.  If we look at Groundhog Day through the lens of God’s Word, we can learn how to extract more joy from our daily routine.

When Phil first begins his recurring Groundhog Day, he uses his growing familiarity with the people of Punxsutawney to serve his selfish purposes of pleasure and entertainment.  This joyride goes on for a while until Phil becomes dissatisfied with the passing shallow pleasures of each day, and in a gloomy twist, the film depicts Phil taking his life in various ways. 

1 John 2:15-17 says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”  Phil discovered the pursuit of worldly things ends in emptiness and loneliness.  Okay, but we’re in this world, not on deserted islands, so how do we interact with the world around us?  Jesus himself prayed to God, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” (John 17:15)

The answer may be found in the rest of this film when Phil realizes the world around him doesn’t have to change, but how he views and interacts with it should.  The story ends with Phil using his special knowledge of everyone in town to change flat tires, give the Heimlich maneuver to the choking mayor, and bless countless people he’d previously acted horribly towards.  I’m not sure this movie intended to have a spiritual message, but I believe Phil stumbled upon a very important Biblical reality:  the same world that can turn us into idol-worshipping-God-neglecters can be used to bless others and do God’s will. 

Friend, can you use this perspective change today?  It could be that God won’t change your situation right away, but He may want you to interact very differently with the people around you.  Are we like Phil the weatherman, missing daily chances to show God’s love in this world and experience joy because we’re wishing it were another day,  job, or season of life?  Maybe you’re like Phil in the sense that you know very particular ways to bless and encourage certain people in your life, the way no one else can.  There may be untapped reserves of hidden joy buried throughout your day, if only you’ll look past the distracting fleeting pleasures to see. 

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