Meditations on “small things”

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Semi-random thought of the day, thought while I was enjoying “the small things”: the only really big thing is Jesus. Everything else is small in comparison. My career, my education, my family, where I live and who I love—they all pale in comparison to the magnificent importance of Jesus. He is the King of Glory. The sun is darkness compared to Him.

 Any bigness these things have they have in virtue of their connection to Jesus. How important is your career? Well, does it make much of Jesus? Are you sharing the gospel with friends at work? Are you painting a picture of how great Jesus is, telling them of the great King who chose to die in order to save his ungrateful, rebellious subjects? Or do you use the money you earn to further the Kingdom? Do you work hard and honor Jesus by working every day for Him and in His honor? Are you excellent at what you do because all things are to be done for the glory of God? In all these ways, we can take the most meaningless work and make it meaningful. But until we do, our work is a small thing. Whether we are baristas or CEOs, our work is small in comparison with Jesus; it only becomes significant when it is connected to Jesus and his importance by making much of him. This goes for ministry, too. Does your ministry make much of Jesus? Or does it make much of something else instead?

This, of course, led to many other thoughts. One is that we better learn to enjoy the small things (I use ‘small things’ in a different way here): the warmth and glow of the afternoon sun, the beauty of the ocean, the freedom of driving, the endlessly fascinating nature of people, the convenience of driving, and thousands more. I said before that all things are small things in comparison with Jesus. This is true. But now I am thinking of those things we would normally call small things—sunlight, finding a quarter, etc. The everyday things, the things I listed. We better learn to enjoy these things because Christians ought to be joyful. We ought to be joyful primarily because of the gospel—we are guilty criminals set free by an astounding pardon! That is reason for joy. But it seems that we tend to wait on the “big stuff” in life to make us happy. If I had the right job or lived in the right place or had this or that or the perfect marriage…then I’d be truly happy. Those things are too “big” and complicated to ever be perfect. But sunlight isn’t. It’s often there, radiating vitamins and tranquility, and we pay no attention. It’s not complicated—most of the little things aren’t. We ought to enjoy those because we ought to have joy. 

After Easter

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Wow. Whether it’s 48 hours or 48 days or six months after Easter, we need this:

http://www.paultripp.com/articles/posts/what-will-you-do-with-easter

I’ve tried to say this or things like this a thousand times. Sometimes it doesn’t matter who says it. All that matters is who believes it. I hope with all my heart that you believe this. 

On the losing of heart

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“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
-Psalm 27:13, NKJV

One of my favorite verses of all time. It’s clearly poetic—that is, it’s a Psalm and the words are pretty—but more than that, it’s incredibly true. After reading it a hundred times, today it sort of grabbed hold of me in a new way.

 I’d never thought of it like this before, but the question came to mind: is it really true that I would have lost heart had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living? I can think of times in my life where the answer would have been a reluctant, shameful “no.” That is, at those times I could have seen my life going fine without the goodness of the Lord. I might have thought, “I’m talented. I’m smart. I have lots of close friends and a supportive family. I’ll be fine.” And what a shameful, ignorant, dangerous delusion that was.

But the only way to get rid of that delusion is with trial by fire. God has to crush you or else you will never know how ineffectual your talent, friends, and family can be. It’s a frightening thing and I’ve often prayed that I could learn my lessons without pain. I’m sure that God has graciously answered that prayer more times than I know, but it’s the times that he hasn’t answered it that I remember most—the heartbreak, the getting fired, the losing a friend, and so on. Those things hurt. But they teach me that I can’t make it on my own. Now I know, and I can now read the Psalm and with all my heart proclaim, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” The goodness of the Lord is my only hope. I’m desperate for it.