What is the greatest good you can think of; the greatest good thing that you could ever get?
A new car?
How about the gift of health?
What about all the money you will ever need for your whole life?
For the Christian, is it that heavenly final destination at the time of your death?
No, according to Pastor Chan; it is God. More specifically, it is experiencing God while we are on earth.
I have to agree, wholeheartedly.
Too often we get obsessed with the stuff of life. You know what I am talking about, large homes, exotic vacations, stylish clothes, lavish furnishings and the hottest technology. I am not sure that God is in all that stuff. Pastor Chan confronts that thinking with the lines “Are you in love with God or just His stuff?” In other words, do you think what you have is a God whose main job is showering you with His gifts? That kind of God is the great gift-giver. The stuff can be so distracting.
Most of us watch television and as we do, we are bombarded with thousands of commercials which promise a better life. All we have to do is purchase the product advertised. How stupid we are. Will a product give us the satisfaction we long for? Of course it won’t.
Let’s go deeper.
What is it that we long for?
Acceptance of who we are.
Get real. None of us is perfect. We are doing the best we can with what we have and some seem to have more than others. Yes, certain people seem to have advantages when it comes to intelligence, or appearance or personality. Others just muddle through the best they can. But even those advantaged people have flaws and certainly the rest of us do. Really, all of us are doing the best we can with what we have.
What is it that we long for?
Acceptance of who we are is not enough.
Really we want someone to love us, unconditionally. We hear that term all the time in church and sometimes it occurs on some popular talk show but what does it mean? It means God loves you “warts and all.” Your imperfections do not matter to Him. Pastor Chan understands this type of love and he expresses it when he says “what a beautiful gift it is to have the one you love look you in the eye and say ‘I love you. Not your beauty, your money, your family or your car. Just you.’”
God does love you. But we just don’t seem to be able to get it. We just can’t wrap our minds around His love for us. And even harder to understand is that the love is ours to experience right here, right now; we don’t have to wait until we die and see Him in heaven. It is now.
Intellectually we get it. A few days ago, I blogged on the song “Jesus Love Me” the children’s song we have all heard so much as youngsters. That’s ok. That song makes us think about God and church and that’s excellent. That’s the beginning of a good foundation. But the intellectual knowledge of God is not enough. Heart knowledge is what Pastor Chan is talking about. Giving your heart to God is what God wants.
It is not an exchange of services because God does not want to swap your meagre efforts to be good for His blessings. It is not a display of spiritual disciplines because you cannot read the Bible enough, pray enough and fast enough to merit His love. It is not giving to the poor, tithing to the church or doing mission work because you can never sacrifice enough to merit His love.
It is just simply making yourself available.
He could use you and will use you if you make yourself available. He is interested in furthering His kingdom here on earth and guess where you are? If you are reading this blog you are on earth. You can be His Christian soldier. You can help Him further His kingdom here on earth if you make yourself available. You know the famous hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers” but have you wondered why the words are so meaningful and long-lasting? It is because the Christian is literally in a battle to stay available. Today there are so many things that can knock us off course. As we give over our lives to contemporary living and the stuff we think we have to have, we lose our focus, our purpose.
Sadly too many people think their whole reason for being is wrapped up in acceptance by the world. The world will never love you the way God can. Sadly too many people think their whole purpose is wrapped up in accumulating the trappings of success. The trappings of success will not satisfy you the way God’s love can.
“Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before. Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; Forward into battle see His banners go!”
Where are we going? It is simple. Everywhere God wants us to go. What are we doing? It is simple. Making ourselves available. What is our reward? It is simple. God’s unconditional love.