Monday, 28 May 2018

The grey chest hair - an eternal reminder

The other day as I was shaving, I noticed I had a single wiley grey hair on my chest that shone like a beacon amongst its darker brethren. The song, “one of these things is not like the other” sadly played for a moment in the back of my head, until I noticed the tune and smote it violently. These songs from my children’s DVDs will haunt me till the end of my days

Yet this hair deviled into the germane. Despite a fleeting thought to fetch a black giffy marker (which I also regret), I could not help but see that that hair represented time.Or more specifically, an approaching end to my time.
“Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die.The wind blows, and we are gone— as though we had never been here”. (Psalm 103: 15-16 NLT)
This Scripture when plucked out and portrayed individually doesn't give us the most cheerful disposition. Yet that is how it gives us such a profound perspective: on how we are to live in the here-and-now. Our first phase of existence is fleeting, but in the following verse we see a foreshadowing of our second phase. We see an introduction of eternal life, and this is what gives us hope.
“But the love of the LORD remains forever with those who fear him”. (v17)
We only have a small allotted amount of time here on this giant mud ball. And that grey hair proclaimed that over half of my time was up. And I could not help but wonder, “What have I accomplished for my LORD”? He has given me talents and abilities. He has entrusted me with resources and friends. He has touched me with health and situated me in a first world nation. He has blest me in so many ways. I was once darkness but was born again into light. He plucked me up out of the mud, and cleaned me up, and loved me at a great expense to Himself. I know my purpose in creation is to glorify Him: To please Him. Yet so much of my time is spent on myself:  Which eternally, is spent on nothing.

Luther launched the Reformation. He acted on what he could do. He didn't procrastinate watching `movies', but instead wrote the 95 Theses and nailed them to the Wittenberg Castle Church door. Calvin wrote his Institutes of the Christian Religion while he ran a city on the side. And he didn't have a 100 watt lamp to eliminate his work space, he wrote to candle light with a feather. He didn't have a laptop computer with 100's of 1000's of volumes of information at his fingertips. Yet he produced far more with far less than a thousand men from our sorry generation. Even on his death bed his only worry was finishing his writing, and he prayed that he would not die before it was done. Second phase thinking!! Westley started the Holiness movement. I have read that he would preach in a large farmer's field because the Church couldn't hold all the people. He would preach from morning to evening everyday, for years on end. And Westley lacked an PA system or a loudspeaker. Essentially, they produced with none of the resources I have available to me. They shame me and expose my sloth.

If all we do is consume and not produce, what good are we? And even if we do produce, if it is not for the Lord and is only for ourselves, we float upon the waves of our narcissism. There are people in this world that worship idols with more dedication than many of us worship the One True God. There are people that pursue money with more dedication than many of us pursue our Creator. How ridiculous a thought is that?

I've seen it reported that Apple Inc's visionary billionaire (Steve Jobs) is purported to have lamented the futility of money on his death bed. What good was all the money in the world when it couldn't buy him another day of life. He spent his time amassing a fortune on a passing first phase, and nothing on a `happily ever after' (second phase). Yet it is sad to me that he pursued mundane coinage with more gusto than most Christians pursue their heavenly Father.

Just think about it. I wonder how many hours I've spent watching worldly crap on YouTube verses praise worthy God glorifying soul-fuel? How many hours have I spent watching iniquitous movies instead of praying or reading the Bible? There are movies that edify and point to God. Why do I spend my time watching movies that the devil's children produce for the purpose of ensnaring and corrupting me? What is it in me that seems to delight in playing Russian Roulette with my soul? How many hours have I spent witnessing God’s love to the lost around me?  The devil's children work tirelessly towards iniquity while I sloth towards holiness. Why is their commission to corrupt played out with more vigor than the Great Commission in me? I seldom approach someone with the Good News on the street, yet they will try pick-up lines and catcalls on anyone within ear shot, ever striving for their next sexual encounter. Brash enough to approach a stranger to get `lucky' while I shy away from sharing the Gospel. When the unsaved spend more time interacting with people to get laid than I do to share Jesus, something is amiss. Where is my time spent? God can tabulate the exact number and show us. How much time did I spend loving Him? For the truth is, what I send my time on is what I truly love. So if I spend it all on furthering my flesh, I am choosing myself over God.

Soon, I will stand before my Lord, and I wish to hear Him say, “Well done my faithful servant”.
Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.  (1 John 2:28 NASB)
What a horror for the Lord to return, and I see me in my mind's eye recoil like Adam.
And Adam said "I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself." (Genesis 3:10 NASB)
To see our time exposed, our priorities weighed, our true delights revealed in the futile temporarily of our earthly pursuits: Naked and ashamed with no covering. Again, what a horrible thought!! We must be prepared like the 5 wise virgins, and not live like the 5 foolish ones (in the parable of the 10 virgins).
Instead, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh. (Romans 13:14 BSB)
What joy to be clothed in Christ and immune to the desires of the flesh. And did you catch that? We are to make no provision with our time to "lust" (NASB) or to "gratifying [our] earthly cravings" (WNT) or to "selfish desires (CSV).  This builds immunity from iniquity. To act otherwise is to act as the 5 foolish virgins. To be clothed in Christ is to abide in Christ, and the work He has prepared for us. And what work is that?
The Lord said, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few”. (Mat 9:37 NLT).
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" (Isaiah 6:8 NIV)
The harvest is all around us. At the bus stops, in the schools, and in our work places. It is even on our social media pages. I don't need to cross the seas to evangelize in different countries anymore. And I don't even need to learn new languages, when I can use google translate or some other service.

We are to be salt. We are to be light. I should be as my grey chest hair - Standing out amongst the dark crowd.
"No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or hides it under a bed. A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house." (Luke 8:16 NLT)
I'm not saying to unbutton your shirt like a gigolo (to show off your solitary grey chest hair). I am saying to stop hiding the Lord's light in your life, and to let it shine through you. Heaven forbid I spend what little time I have left in darkness. Now let's take on that harvest.

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