Three children were walking in the woods one November day. The oldest,and only girl in the group says,
"I just love the fall colors. All of the reds, oranges, and browns."
The littlest boy looks at the colors the girl mentions and spots an evergreen.
He says, "I like that one over there. It's so green!"
The girl looks over and says, "That's just a dumb old evergreen. Give me the colors of fall anytime!!!"
This crushes the little boy's spirit.
The middle child who was observing this great tree debate came to his friend's aid by saying,
"Yeah, your trees are beautiful now, but next month they will be BALD!!!"
The above scenerio is from the Dennis the Menace comic strip by Hank Kechtum (1983?). On the surface it's a cute story about three children debating trees, but this story is also about faith. According to the definition of faith in the book of Hebrews, faith is evidence of the intangible (Heb 11). This is a great chapter telling of the faith of our fathers. Their faith was pointing to something greater that was coming. Their lives revolved around it. These people were awesome. Could we say the same about us? Honestly, I'm not looking for the punishment that these people went through. Yet, some of us think of suffering when the church service runs five minutes over, because there's a line at the Sizzler. You know what the hall of famers would say to us? "PFFFT...,WIMPS!!!"
How do I get faith from trees? The little girl is talking about the world and what it offers. I would have to admit, some of the objects that the world has to offer are pretty to look at and possess. But the problem lies in satisfaction. In the end, you are satisfied with nothing except yourself, and if you need objects to show self worth, you have a problem. By placing your identity in possessions, ultimately you are placing your value in ashes. God says that's a lousy trade off. Possessions decay, rot, break down, use any type of metaphore that describes junk, and then think, will this truly give you joy? Pleasure? Or will it just be another headache three years from now when the warranty runs out.
I have a motto, "it's all going to burn in the end." I try not to place my value and worth in material objects. My PC is at 366 Mhz. I've been told by my son that today's top speed is somewhere in the nine hundred range, and hooking up with a Pentium 4 processor will be like attaching a rocket to your V.W Bug. When I bought my computer three years ago, it was one of the fastest. Now, from some of my co-workers at work, tell me that I am working with a dinosaur when it comes to my computer. Am I going out to get an upgrade? No. This is still doing the job.
I used to work at a Ford dealership. There were some employees who had to have new cars every September, when the new models came out. It seems that our quest for happiness is never quenched. All of these items were not intended to bring happiness to us; they were meant to make life a little easier. There is a big difference between making life easier and putting our faith in the object.
Do you really think the Lord cares if you make it to church by driving a Lexus SUV or taking the bus? The important thing is getting to church. Who cares how you get there, just show up.
Why go to church; To show off your new things, or to worship our Creator? I understand wanting to put the best before our Lord, but remember, obedience is better that sacrifice. Still, God calls us to fellowship with Him and to store up treasures in Heaven where moth and rust cannot destroy. Let's strive for these treasures instead of earthly wants.
Obejects never bring lasting joy, just momentary pleasure. Our founding fathers in faith knew what joy was. They were able to put faith in a God that said, "trust me," not in what the world thought was joy. I remember the quote Jesus said about Abraham - "Your father, Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad." ( John 8: 56.). What was Jesus saying? He was saying that Abraham's joy was found in the Lord, and in the promises the Lord made. Our joy should be in the Lord for - to quote an old hymn - "the things He has done" and for who He is.
By placing your faith in the Living God, you will stay fresh now and in the times to come. By accepting this faith, we can wait with anticipation for the hope that will bring us something better, our Lord in perfection.
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Faith is the belief in those things unseen, according to Scripture. Someday, people will recognize that earthly rewards mean nothing to the Lord.