Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Where Does Your Heart Belong?

C.S. Lewis, "The Weight of Glory"
"...If we consider...the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures...like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

I came to the realization not long ago that I have been settling for second best in my life for far too long. The past few years have been good ones, to be sure. I've Pastored a couple of Churches and a recovery ministry. It's been a great privilege to serve on the boards of CMJC and CWJC. Farming has allowed me to home school my children. It would be easy to be satisfied with that. Yet, as C. S. Lewis so eloquently realized, the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels far exceed my comfortable life. I have been too easily pleased.

God has a greater plan for my life, and for my family. We've spent so long living in a world of our own making, maintained by our own capability, that we've lost sight of the abundant life promised by God.

The potter has crafted each of us for a great purpose. It would be very sad if I died without ever achieving the one great thing for which God created me. I don't want to waste another day doing anything else.

John 4:35
I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.

The teaching is clear. Now is the time. We often spend so much time planning and preparing that we miss the work of the Holy Spirit. We end up going under our own power because we show up too late. We show up after the harvest is finished and the grain has fallen from the stalks. No great plan or purpose of ours can make up for the lack of missing God's work. Now is the time.

Revelation 21:1
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away

All the things I've built -my house, my barns, will crumble. My tractor will rust and fall apart. Even the very land on which they rest will someday be gone. The Pharaohs and Caesars built impressive monuments, but they too will pass. We build legacies in the hope that we will be remembered, but we build them in the wrong world. The old earth will be destroyed, and a new earth created. Nothing is eternal in this physical world.

The only thing that will ever matter is what we do for the kingdom of God. That is the only eternal thing -the lives of other people that we touch.

Matthew 6:19
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

David Livingstone was a famous missionary and explorer who dedicated his life to finding innovative ways to share the Gospel in Africa. He spent his life exploring that Continent and sharing the message of Christ in villages in the remote regions unreached by other missionaries. He had a genuine love for Africa and her people, and a passion to see them won for Christ. It was a difficult life -his wife turned to alcoholism and later died of malaria. He made many mistakes and poor choices, not the least of which was failure to be a father to his own children.

Many considered his journeys a failure, because he himself won only one known convert during all his years of preaching and exploration. Yet, his love and passion for Africa, and for the Gospel inspired generations and nations to missionary work on that continent.

Wracked by malaria and dysentery, his body spent from his grueling expeditions, Livingstone died in 1873 in a small African village at Ilala. The natives agreed to return his body to England for burial, but they kept his heart, and buried it under a small tree outside the village.

“You can have his body,” said the note they sent with the corpse, “but his heart belongs in Africa.”

Where does your heart belong?

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