I’m usually a pretty up-beat, positive kind of a guy but last week for just a few minutes I began feeling a little sorry for myself. I was out at Hardendale Hall for a rehearsal for a wedding I would be officiating the following day, and being a little early I decided to slip down to Cow Lake just to enjoy the quiet for a few minutes.
It was stunningly gorgeous! The water was like glass. The color of the blue sky and white clouds contrasted with the changing leaves reflected perfectly on the lake was breath-taking. There were grebes with their strangely beautiful croaking cry close by, and from off at the far end of the lake came the occasional wail from a loon.
My first response when I saw the lake was “Oh God, this is beautiful! You are amazing!” But my second response was “I don’t want to leave. Let me go sit in a boat with a line in the water and just enjoy this for hours,” which was followed shortly in my downward spiral of self-pity by “It’s not fair. I never get to go fishing, or hunting, or even get out in the bush anymore.”
Graciously, God didn’t let me follow that path very long. I was gently reminded that my life was purchased by God at a very high price, the suffering and death of Jesus, and no longer belongs to me to please myself as I see fit.
I heard someone say that many people will willingly name Jesus as their savior, receiving forgiveness from their sin and the blessing of eternal life, but far too many stop at naming Jesus savior, and do not name him as Lord of their lives as well. There is a belief that has developed in our western culture that Jesus died for me so that I can be happy. That belief is wrong.
Jesus laid down his life for me because he was obedient to the Father. That obedience brings glory to the Father, who in response gives honour to the Son. And therein lays the pattern for our lives.
God brings many wonderful things into our lives including wealth, possessions, our houses and church buildings. His blessings also include his creation and the enjoyment of it. But none of these gifts were intended to be hoarded to ourselves as though they were an indication of God’s pleasure with us. All gifts from God are given with the expectation that they will in turn be spent on others, thus bringing glory to God and honour to the Son.