I was reminded this morning of a song whose words go like this:
“All flesh is like the grass, and its beauty like the flower. We live, we die, and like dust our bones are scattered. The face you see in the morning betrays you, and once again the illusion of permanence is shattered.”
Cheery words. But Daddy as I run with you I am not fearful, because all these things down here are not permanent. Compared with a butterfly, I have a long lifespan, but compared with you, I am as dust on the scales. I do not even affect the weight one way or the other.
But WITH you, everything changes. I do not store up treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy, where thieves break in and steal, where property value fluctuates, where investments might be robbed from me. No, I store up treasure in your eyes, Daddy, and in your heart. Give me a look today, give me a word today. Smile on me today, and break my heart with your love. I am a thing of a moment, but you have made me a child of forever.
It was the Spirit who led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. The path I am running on will be a hard path if it is your path; but the rest is easy on that path. Oh, when I lie down to sleep, I will dream such dreams! Jesus fasted forty days and nights (just so you know he didn’t fill his face when the sun went down), and he refused every single one of the devil’s dazzling offers to him.
Jesus didn’t say: “Satan, all these things are mine anyway.” Instead, he had no interest whatever for all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. Or for the power that he could summon to rescue himself if need be. “Nothing is more extraordinary in the whole story of Jesus than his absolute refusal to use his powers for his own gain, his own profit, his own comfort, or his own safety. He thought never in terms of self, and always in terms of others.” (William Barclay).
Instead, what did he say to the devil? “It is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.'”
Daddy, you have put your name on me. I am yours. I am your servant, your love-slave. Even your son or daughter, even your heir with Christ. All for your glory and your honour; and that none of the praise could ever possibly redound to me – how could it? As Clement of Rome said:
Through him we fix our gaze on the heights of heaven, through him we see the reflection of his faultless and lofty countenance, through him the eyes of our hearts were opened, through him our foolish and darkened understanding blossoms towards the light, through him the Master willed that we should taste immortal knowledge…from darkness to light, from ignorance to the fully knowledge of the glory of his name.