As I cut my hair recently (yes, I cut my own hair; don’t you?) I noticed the clumps of hair dropping into the sink and they were ‘saltier’ than I’d ever known before. I’m getting greyer! Eek! Not really. (Isn’t it amazing how a solitary grey hair stands out in the otherwise brown?) It reminded me of the proverb:
“Gray hair is a crown of splendour...” —Proverbs 16:31a (NIV).
At times I’ve looked at my face and neck and noticed the rather progressive phenomenon of those wrinkles becoming more pronounced. The fact is we don’t get any younger. As we age our body gets less effective at rebuilding and regenerating our cells, hence the ageing process.
Whilst we know and understand (and for many of us, accept) this rather harsh reality, our minds are somewhat different. Sure, we perhaps don’t think on our feet like we used to, but we do get wilier and wiser with our years, hopefully.
In the same way, we’re to be forgiven for chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. In our natural lust for fame and/or fortune we forget very quickly that it’s not about looks, money, “success” (however you define it), or recognition. It’s about those treasures we store up for ourselves in eternity:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
—Matthew 6:19-21 (TNIV).
Living on the eternal stage is all about the ‘true view’ which is rather like a flipped mirror image—it’s as obvious to the eye as one of those optical illusions. One of these we might have seen.
Depending on our viewpoint—and what the eye sees first—we see a young woman with a fur coat lining around her neck and she’s also wearing a hat as she looks away. Equally, the first view could be the converse image; an elderly woman with a hideously large nose. The point is, both the seen and unseen worldviews are obvious to see, yet we tend to believe that which we see first or that which seems most obvious to us; the material or the spiritual.
Storing real treasures in heaven is the stock-in-trade for all Christians to partake of—to become skilled practitioners in. And this is more broadly the real purpose and meaning to life if any would care to listen with the eyes and ears of the heart fully open.
Where is our best recognition founded?
Probably my most favourite chapter of Scripture hits the nail on its head:
“Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
—2 Corinthians 4:16b-18 (TNIV).
There are so many unseen things in life which bear eternal relevance, and for us, cognisance. What good is it to gain everything imaginable on the earth only to lose one’s very soul in the process? (Luke 9:25)
© S. J. Wickham, 2009.