Saturday, August 24, 2013

Paling in comparison

Mark 13:1-2 (NIV)

As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”

“Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
We had occasion to visit a fancy north shore suburb this afternoon. As we used Google maps to plan our route, I ogled some of the impressive lakefront compounds, which are even more impressive in person. At least that’s the opinion I formed from the driver’s seat of our minivan. But because I’d read this passage before our trip, the words echoed in my mind as we passed mansion after mansion.

All those magnificent buildings pale in comparison to God’s majesty. They are great indeed, but they are human creations. No matter how regal they appear, these shrines to human wealth and achievement, they are temporary. No physical splendor can match what God’s love has done for me and my family.

And so it was that after our brief sightseeing jaunt, as I sat in a dive of a pizza joint sharing slices with my three smiling boys, I felt as rich as I’ll ever need to be. I looked at each of their faces, surrounding me at our tiny table, and could do nothing more than smile back, try to let them know how much I enjoy being their dad and how wonderful it is for us to be in this stage of life.

Earlier in the day, driving back from Max’s first soccer game and realizing how few days we have left with only five of us in the van, Kristie proclaimed her belief we’re going to be a fun family. We will have our contentious moments, she noted, but still there will be plenty of times when we and our four boys will be a boisterous, laughing, singing, jubilant ensemble. She’s absolutely right. Money can’t buy that kind of joy, and I know there will be times I’ll feel guilty for being so richly blessed.

I know this because I already feel that way quite often, and I imagine one more child to love and love back will only intensify those emotions. The buildings are glorious. Humans have made some absolutely astounding things, and I do so enjoy taking them in and gaping with wonder. But nothing compares to what our creator and redeemer has done, can do and will do through us and for us. To God alone be the glory.

A prayer for August 24:

Lord, teach me your way. Lead me in a straight path. Please help me maintain a proper perspective on life. Never let me lose appreciation for the many blessings set before me. Do not let my heart be hardened to your majesty. Help me teach my children to understand what it means to live in your love. Endow them with a sense of their value as your creation, and help them respect those around them as lovingly made by the same hands. Help us all to fully value our friends and neighbors. Amen.

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