In his book, The Life God Blesses, Gordon MacDonald tells about a visit with his grandfather in a nursing home. Time had dulled the keen edge of the old man’s mind. After attempting conversations with his grandfather, who had served Christ faithfully through many years, Gordon asked if he might pray with him before he left. Then, the old man asked to pray and a change came over his person. He prayed a prayer that called on God to bless those around him, a prayer that included specific Bible references. His prayer was clear and focused. Then, he prayed for the man in front of him, “Lord, bless,” and paused to ask, “who are you?” “I”m your grandson, Gordon.” “Oh, yes, Lord bless Gordon…” When age and a failing mind had stripped nearly everything of value from this saint, including awareness of his own grandson’s identity, what was at the depth of his being was revealed. He was, more than anything else, one who loved and knew God!
What kind of person are you at the core of your being?
If your job, your ‘stuff’ of life were stripped away, who would be left?
Superficiality is the curse of our age. We can live day after day without a serious thought, distracted by trivial matters, television dramas, fashion, and/or political nonsense. We can get caught up in a life that measures worth by attractiveness, wealth, IQ, possessions … anything but the things of God. Paul writes about that empty way of life. “Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth.” (Philippians 3:19, NLT) If we live only for earth’s rewards we will become living ghosts drifting through this world with empty souls. I believe that one of the reasons our culture is so taken with pursuit of perpetual youth is our general lack of depth of spirit. If life is only about how much we can enjoy earthly pleasures, it follows that we will be terrified by the losses that accompany advancing years.
Christian, we who profess to love Jesus can get trapped by a kind of ‘spiritual’ superficiality characterized shallow ‘bless me’ prayers, avoiding hard places of service to which He calls, and even refusing to endure those valleys where He becomes nearer and dearer to us. Of those someone has said that they “play at their worship, and worship their play.”
How I want to be a person whose love for God goes deep, a man of integrity who loves Him more even as eyes dim and mind clouds! Jesus reminds us that “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26, NLT)
Let’s pursue God and stop passing the time in diversions. Solomon, the king who lost himself in pursuit of earth’s pleasures, circled around to this conclusion of wisdom – “Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and no longer enjoy living. It will be too late then to remember him, when the light of the sun and moon and stars is dim to your old eyes, and there is no silver lining left among the clouds.” (Ecclesiastes 12:1-2, NLT)
Here is a word from the Word –“Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it. . . . There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites. But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.” (Philippians 3:16-21, The Message)
Be Thou my vision
Oh, Lord, of my heart.
All else be naught to me
save that Thou art,
Be my best thought
by day and by night,
waking or sleeping,
Thy Presence, my Light.