Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Different Kind of Carrot

"The things of the world grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."

At first, the excitement of life, the things I could get, the things I could become and the experiences I could have were very alluring. My dreams were all very earthly and American pie. Bucket lists are written, plans are made and efforts begun. It's good to have a plan, to think positive and to have a goal, but what on earth do you do when things don't work out or when the thrill of worldly things fizzles out and leaves you unsatisfied? Ravi Zaccharias said, "Hopelessness is not found at the end of suffering, but at the end of pleasures"...it's like a Monday morning. 

The end result of a worldly pleasure seeker is hopelessness. This earth is a beautiful, awesome place as God's creation and some of the things that God has enabled man to build, conceive and accomplish are outstanding. Stand in awe of these and give God the glory for the abilities He gives. The status quo however, and the typical "North American" dream are empty and void of virtue. 

The summertime is a good time to examine and reflect on this. What are people living for? Saving vacation time and money to do what? This is the time when desires are fulfilled and people are pushing to the front of the line to get their due. Scrambling for the best spot in the sun, the cool drinks and the "Pleasure Dome". Don't even get me started on the casting off of clothes in celebration of the sun god and skin. The whole thing just makes me sit back and think. If this is how people have "arrived", then I don't think I want to go there. I'll take a cold drink and the sunshine, but the Pleasure Dome is way overrated...and no vacation time is ever long enough.
Everyone has a different kind of Pleasure Dome, but we all have one...or two. For some it's a baseball diamond, others it might be a shopping mall or a Star Trek convention. Water parks, Caribbean Islands, golf courses and  art galleries. I have a few. they still have their draw and I would never say no to enjoying one if it presented itself, but I seemed to have stopped chasing it. I've stopped living for it. I'm tired of the race, the distraction and the disappointment of not having it more often or that it has lost it's appeal. The carrot hanging from the front of my cart seems to be changing form. 

I've opted for a carrot that I can have anytime, anywhere and without cost. The pleasure of Jesus presence, fellowship with His people and enjoying His creation is sweet, satisfying and sustaining. It's a fail-safe with this as my "thing worth living for". No one can take it, I don't have to save up for it and it is mine for the asking...any time of year. After years and years of chasing pleasures (and I'm sure I'll try again) it has finally dawned on me. I'm like the hamster in the cage, exhausted by the wheel. Hopefully, I won't forget too soon. 

As this summer passes by, I won't wish that I had enjoyed it more or dread the cold to come. My joy will not be dependent on the season or the circumstance. I'll take each day as one step closer to my real home and rest. I'll try to appreciate the little graces God gifts me with and accept the difficulties as He did for me on the cross.