(Thanks for inspiration on this one to Frances. Come to think of it, thanks for inspiration on all of them to Frances!)
"Life or Stuff?"
As my wife Frances says, "Life is about God and people. Everything else is just stuff."
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Mark 12:30-31).
Frances does not suggest that "stuff" is not important. We must navigate earthly seas and negotiate the everyday paths of our present life. The Lord's parable in the Gospel of Luke finds the master commanding his steward/servants to "Occupy (attend to business) til I come" (Luke 19:13). Believers do not merely wander around with our head in the clouds. We do, however, seek to keep our hearts in Heaven by viewing everything in life as the holy means whereby the love of God serves as the Life of our lives. "To live is Christ" declared the Apostle Paul (Philippians 1:21). To better know our Father's love, to respond in love toward Him, and then to experience His love springing forth from our hearts unto others - this is life, this is essence, this is the only fulfillment for which our hearts were made: "He that believeth on Me as the Scripture hath said, out of His belly shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38).
God means for us to enjoy the blessed stuff, face the challenging stuff with faith and courage, and deal with the everyday stuff in the context of His blessed reality. All the while, however, we remember Frances's wise counsel that it is all just stuff in comparison to our heart's peace, joy, and contentment. Only One is worthy to inhabit the throne that exists in our spirits. Christ only, Christ always, Christ forever - this is the anthem of our innermost depths created by God for the Spirit of His Son. Until He dwells there, we have no hope of peace. Until we know He dwells there, we will have little experience of peace. And unless we grow in the assurance of "Christ in you, the hope of glory," our awareness of God's peace will ebb and flow far more than necessary (Colossians 1:27). Stuff is not life. This includes things, possessions, places, health, opportunity, career, pleasures, and anything that is not the love of Christ received, assimilated, and expressed. We must build the altar within our hearts whereupon we sacrifice any and everything that contradicts the truth of Christ alone as the Life of our lives. "I am… the life" proclaimed the Lord Jesus (John 14:6). He proclaims the same to us. To love God and people in response to Christ's love for us, in us, and by us - this is essence, this is truth, and this is life. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. As a wise woman says, "Everything else is just stuff."
"He is thy life."
Weekly Memory Verse
"He is thy life."