Friday, April 26, 2013

Nothing Lasts Forever

From Sunrise to Sunset God is the same Yesterday, today
and forever.
     A couple of weeks ago, we had a celebration of three April birthdays here at our home.  I ordered a 12 inch round cake for the occasion.  Now keep in mind that we had everyone home for this special time together which means 16 in the house.  I thought a 12 inch cake would be the right size.
     After our meal on Friday evening, everyone said, "Look how much cake is left.  You must have gotten one too large."  However, by Saturday only a small piece remained.  As that last piece was eaten, I smiled because I had gotten the right size cake.  Nothing lasts forever especially a delicious chocolate cake.
     As I write this, our 12 year old basset hound is sitting at my feet.  I know that we will not have him around for many more years and that will be a sad day for me.  He has been a special part of our family.  Whether it is a cake, a pet, a dear loved one, or even a friendship, we have to remember that nothing stays the same in life.  Change is the key word, and those of us who can handle the change by leaning on the everlasting arms of God will be able to weather the upheavals of life.
      In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us where we need to focus our energy in life.  Matthew 6:19-21 reads:  "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  Investing our lives in things of this earth for the sake of helping and serving others is a good thing, but when we make possessions, pets and even relationships more important than God, we have indulged in idolatry.  Because nothing lasts forever, God calls us to lay up treasures in heaven.
     Practically, speaking, we begin to lay up treasures in heaven when we spend time with God in prayer.  I know that when I spend time with God it changes me...the way I think, the way I act, and the way I see other people.  I pray for the needs in my family, for our pastors, our church, our leaders and for others who are sick and in need.  I ask the Lord for "His kingdom to come" that others may see his glory.
     Investing time in God's Word also pays us rich dividends.  No bank or series of mutual funds can offer the returns that spending time in the Bible can offer.  Looking into the Word is like beholding the Face of God for we are learning about His character, His commands and His plan for our life.  God's Word is a living source that seeks out the sin in our lives to expose it and bring us to repentance.  Our treasure in heaven grows as we devote ourselves to learning God's Word for us.
     Partaking in church worship is another area of treasure for us.  There we hear the Word of God proclaimed and enjoy the sacraments of our Lord.  In this holy convocation each week, we partake anew the manna that God offers to feed our soul, bring encouragement and help us grow.
     Finally, investing our lives in the lives of others like our family is a precious way to lay up treasures in heaven.  Teaching our children the basic truths and doctrines of the Christian faith so that they may draw near to Christ is something which neither moth nor rust or thieves can steal.  Likewise, sharing the Gospel with those outside the Christian faith also brings rewards that last for eternity.
     Do not misunderstand me.  Working hard here on earth brings us pleasure.  Enjoying the fruit of our labors is also a gift from God.  However, if we make these things the center of our lives then we are attempting to stockpile treasures here on earth.  Luther once said, "What a man loves, that is his God."  If we love work, our animals, or anything else more than we love God, we are laying up treasures in the wrong place.  Remember, nothing lasts forever be it a cake or our health.  Yet God rules and reigns forever and He will never leave nor forsake us.  This is where our treasure lies for when we are found in Him, we will also live forever with Him.  The question we need to ask ourselves each day is:  "Where am I laying up my treasures?"  Heaven is our destination if we are Christians.  Therefore, let us be prepared to meet God by spending our time in bringing Him glory.  We will not regret this investment!  Selah!

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