Planning For Eternity
“And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
John 11:26 (NKJV UK)
“One is nearer God’s heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth.” Dorothy Frances Guerney’s poem came to mind as I spent much of today out in my garden. But I didn’t recognise it as she saw it. For a start I was dead-heading roses. Then I cut away at an overgrown bush until my recycling bin was full and I had to stop. Finally I spent quite some time spraying with weed-killer. First my patio, then the paths in the front garden. In the end at a persistent patch of ground elder which really needs to be dug up when I can summon the energy. So, no, I wasn’t nearer to God’s heart in my garden. Instead I was only thinking of hacking roses and murdering plants most of the time just to keep things under control.
Isn’t that how Christians are at times? We are full of potential, full of optimism, but then we go on and muck it up by living imperfectly, needing to dead-head or hack away at our unchristian overgrowth. And the nett result is that the optimism dissolves little by little into resignation; and then resignation, if we don’t catch ourselves, becomes capitulation.
So it turns out that that’s the important thing—to have optimism and vision in our Christian lives. Back in the 17th century those grandees who planted avenues of trees leading to their stately homes, knew that they’d never see the result of a hundred and fifty years of what would be, and yet they had vision enough to plan for that far ahead.
Christians need a similar vision too. We are planning for eternity. We need to understand that we fall short, but that God is investing in us. We have to learn to trust him and to ride the vision he has of our future. To believe whole-heartedly that he can have us make it with our co-operation.
Never give up, not even for an instant. And realise that it doesn’t depend on anyone else. We answer one-on-one with our God. He knows our hearts. He knows what we think is really important in life. He knows what really motivates us when we get up to face another day. That’s why he gave us the church and fellow Christians to encourage and support.
And there’s no fooling God. Can’t pull the wool over his eyes, although sometimes we are very successful in deceiving ourselves. When we rely on ourselves, then we get into trouble; when we rely on him, success can only be the eventual outcome.
Mighty Father, thank you for our calling. When we gave ourselves to you we meant it. Help us to hear when you are asking us to make changes; help us to be willing to keep following you. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by John Stettaford
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