It’s been some time since the site has been up and I’ve still been slow to update it. Events of life, particularly the bigger ones tend to interrupt the flow of things and I certainly am experiencing a lot of new and interesting things. Every day has become filled with small adventures, because of our family’s little addition. That being said, I also have been thinking a lot about areas where I heard questions while helping with the church’s youth group. It seems a few of the questions could and should be answered. Below are the thoughts that came to me while pondering about one of those questions.
An issue that consistently came up with the youth group was, “Why should we worry about all the work and pursuit of God daily?” The logic some youth put forward was that Heaven is enough and if Heaven is the best how can there be anything better? The youth leaders tried to explain the concept of rewards to them but again they saw riches as crowns and jewels and since Heaven is a place where we will lack nothing, why work for a reward?
Of the many reasons to follow hard after Christ I have one in particular to offer. When I was growing up, I had lost all but one of my grandparents by age 14. The only one I had left was my grandmother on my dad’s side. I didn’t get to spend very much time with her comparatively. Every other Sunday or so, we’d go visit her for an hour or two. She was always kind and loving towards me, she would make mini pizzas and Kool-Aid when I was little and homemade biscuits when I was a teen, simply because I liked them. I never had to doubt she loved me and cared about me, that she enjoyed me coming with my parents to see her.
But, without ever realizing it, I developed this kind of distant relationship with her where I knew her, but because I was always with others when I saw her, and infrequently at that, there was never the kind of relationship I saw my older cousins have with her. I knew her as my mommaw. She was the title and position first and I knew she deserved my love for the love she showed me. I also knew that I should love her for who she was, and I did, but I didn’t know her personally and closely.
Therein lies the difference. If I had spent more personal time with her and gotten to know her as a person, I could have truly known her. That doesn’t mean I should ever forget she was my grandmother nor fail to show her the respect due her position. There was just an added nuance to how I could have related to her. Likewise, we should go to church, we should love Christ, and believe in Him simply for Who He is and what He has done for us. We love Him because He first loved us, of course, but we need to know Him personally. Deeply. Truly and passionately.
Another way of looking at it is like this. At a birthday party a lot of people are invited. Friends, fringe friends, and relatives often come to such a gathering. Consider now, who gets to sit closest to the “birthday boy?” Those closest to him. In Heaven, who will be closest to Christ, seeing Him best and praising Him most fervently? It only makes sense that it would be those who knew Him best and spent the most time with Him in life. That is the reward we should be striving for, why we must pursue Him every day, with purpose and without fail. In the endless ages of eternity, when everything of this world is pulled away, and we no longer desire our idols and our other distractions, when we see Him as He is and understand just how magnificent and how worthy of our adoration He is, wouldn’t it be tragic to see Him and be so close and realize only then that we could have been closer, done more, loved Him and known Him more powerfully?
The author Hebrews, as usual, says it so artfully and so much better than I can: “Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.
For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)