Sunday, September 07, 2014
Sunday Afternoon Tea - Keep your Eyes on the Prize
"All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” -- C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle
I finally made it to the Farmer's Market yesterday to use the vouchers we had been given. I noticed how the gourds and pumpkins and butternut squash were now the stars of the show. And as I was checking on the firmness of a tomato, the sounds of sirens could be heard in the distance.
It was a parade of sorts. A police escort, two buses with the University's name on the side (carrying the team), and one of the mechanical mascots filled with VIP fans. It is football season in a University town, another sure sign autumn is just around the corner.
It seems as if it were last week that I was planting my garden, how can it be September already? I shared with a friend in an e-mail that I have been weary of soul lately. As much as I adore Autumn in all of its' cool, crisp, colorful glory... there is with it the realization that another year will soon be past. Another calendar will be purchased and hung with a brand new year on each month of weeks.
The passage of time reminds each of us of our finiteness, our limited walk on the sod of this planet. We have so little time to make our mark whether our journey is to be a small one or if we reach the century mark. It all goes by so rapidly that we can feel we are never going to fulfill the destiny God has for us. We will not come near the finish line having accomplished that which we desired.
But God knows we are but dust. He is the one who set our number of years and placed those desires within our very soul. He knows we have an expiration date and he is aware of just when that date is stamped in the Heavenly books.
He wants us to be faithful. To be obedient. To follow His Word. To take the next step before us.
A Truth I am recognizing each year that goes by is this... we are to do the best we can with what we are given and in the time allotted. No one will ever truly reach the finish line with everything accomplished. He gives us a goal and a journey, with enough provision and wisdom as are needed. But the true goal is Eternity itself... and Him.
Whatever good stuff we have here on earth, it is nothing compared to the rewards awaiting us in Heaven. We do the works He has set before us and our rewards are based on that alone. We are not to compare ourselves to another for we will become fearful we are not doing enough or prideful as to what we have accomplished.
Salvation does not come from our works but by Grace says the Word of God (lest any man should boast). We come before the Lord asking for forgiveness of our sins and letting Him take our sins upon Himself so that God can see us as flawless to enter the Kingdom. Our salvation is based on His Redemption and that alone. He is the only Lamb of God who led a perfect life. He is the one and only Person who can open the scroll in the last Book of the Bible.
But it does not end at salvation.
We are to do the works He has given us. You know, those little nudges that may end up in grand finales or perhaps known only between you and your God. Billy Graham has stated many times that the greatest amongst us in Heaven may just be the praying grandmothers of the world and not those who preach to stadiums filled with people.
That was Billy's nudge you know, to preach the Truth of the Gospel. To stay true to it even as the tide of Truth turned in our own generation until now we hardly recognize the world as it once was. Oh, it was never perfect, of course. But it certainly was more in keeping with the ten commandments.
What is your nudge? What gifts does he want you to use on your journey. They are not necessarily grand and glorious. I have a friend who has been a great blessing to me as she slips me a little gift here and there so I can do what God has set before me.
I know without a doubt she will receive rewards in Heaven for her nudges to give, not only to me but to others in her realm of friends and family. Whether the person who has the gift of giving does so with a small amount or gifts so large they are miraculous answers to prayer... the rewards are waiting.
I have friends who write beautifully and have published amazing books that are read worldwide. But I also have a number of online friends who continue writing a blog that only handfuls of people read. But one never knows when that one person is receiving wisdom that will keep them on their journey towards their God given finish line... and that one person is why God has you writing.
Will you receive a reward for baking a pie for the grieving family or inviting your elderly neighbor to dinner once in awhile? Does God reward the person who knits hats for the homeless or makes quilts for babies in hospitals? Of course! Think of Dorcas in Acts or Jesus teaching in the Gospels that we give a glass of water in His name to the thirsty.
For you see, we are to keep our eyes on the prize says the Scriptures. We are to have an eternal perspective. Yes, time is passing quickly and we can never accomplish all we want. No, life is never ever perfect. But sometimes it is good. Sometimes it is glorious. But it is never Heaven on this earth.
You can do nothing else to make God love you more than He does already. No works will make Him appreciate you more. But as you have an Eternal perspective, you want to accomplish what He has asked you to do. No matter how impossible it may look at the time -or- no matter how small and unimportant it may seem in your finite mind.
The above quote is one of my all time favorites from Literature. Doesn't it say what is the Truth in such an amazing way that we can understand what this life is all about?
We are creating the cover page to our story as we are a part of His Story. This is just the preparation you know. Our perfect garden is yet to come. Our perfect meal is yet to come. And get this... our perfect body is yet to come. Woo Hoo!
You will always feel in this world that you have not performed perfectly. And you will be right. But keep an Eternal Perspective and know this... everything you do here whether big or teeny tiny counts toward Eternity. Even if it is not done perfectly. Even if it is not done completely.
Keep your eyes on the prize as He commanded. For He knows it helps us keep going toward the goal when we would rather go back to bed with a pint of ice cream and a good novel.
Image: The End of Harvest by Judy Richardson