Friday, November 17, 2017
Psalms 119:33 – 40 (NIV) Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. Fulfill your promise to your servant, so that you may be feared. Take away the disgrace I dread, for your laws are good. How I long for your precepts! Preserve my life in your righteousness.
It’s an old story, I know, but it must be told to introduce the subject matter for today. Once there was a man who loved wealth. Everything he did was intentionally designed to increase his wealth. His wealth was used to create more wealth and to provide himself with every luxury and pleasure he desired. In his will, he specifically stated that upon his death all of his wealth was to be buried with him in the form of gold. His request was granted. When judgment day arrived and his turn came to stand before the great throne of God in heaven, he marched in proudly carrying his gold as a display of his worth. In one single statement God puts his entire life into perspective when He asks, “Why have you brought me pavement?”
Each day when I read the passage of Scripture that we will study together, I ask the Lord to direct my eyes to the one key word or phrase that He wants me to see. Today my eyes were drawn directly to the words “selfish gain”. I stopped and thought for several agonizing moments about the things in my life that I do for selfish gain. Then the Holy Spirit directed my attention to the very next phrase, “turn my eyes away from worthless things”, and I was slammed. Everything that I pursue on this earth for my own gain according to my own desires is worthless from an eternal perspective. As one poet put it – “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”
Immediately my thoughts were directed to an old song that my mom and dad used to sing. It’s called Nothing But Leaves, and its words remind me that there are two worthy pursuits for my life that are of eternal value – glorifying Christ by bearing the fruit of the Spirit in my life and serving God in His redemptive purpose in the harvest field of souls.
All other pursuits of life are worthless compared to these two God-given purposes. These two things alone have been granted eternal value by God. Every pursuit of my life must come under one or both of these headings or it is to be called selfish gain and worthless. Even relaxation or recreation are to be intentional times of refreshment to gain strength to accomplish God’s purpose and not my own. As the Psalmist says, it is only according to God’s Word that life will be preserved.
May the Holy Spirit speak to you through the words of the song as He spoke to my heart.
The Master is seeking a harvest
In lives He’s redeemed by His blood;
He seeks for the fruit of the Spirit,
And works that will glorify God.
He looks for His likeness reflected
In lives that are yielded and true;
He’s looking for zeal in the winning
Of souls He’s entrusted to you.
He’s yearning for someone to carry
The life-giving word far and near;
He’s waiting for hearts that are willing,
For ears that are open to hear.
Nothing but leaves for the Master,
Oh, how His loving heart grieves,
When instead of the fruit He is seeking,
We offer Him nothing but leaves.
–Mrs. H. S. Lehman, 1924