The Narrow Way
What thousands never knew the road!
What thousands hate it when tis known!
None but the chosen tribes of God
Will seek or choose it for their own.
A thousand ways in ruin end,
One only leads to joys on high;
By that my willing steps ascend,
Pleased with a journey to the sky.
No more I ask or hope to find
Delight or happiness below;
Sorrow may well possess the mind
That feeds where thorns and thistles grow.
The joy that fades is not for me,
I seek immortal joys above;
There glory without end shall be
The bright reward of faith and love.
Cleave to the world, ye sordid worms,
Contented lick your native dust!
But God shall fight with all his storms,
Against the idol of your trust.
Out of the life, I shall never take
Things of silver and gold I make
All that I cherish and hoard away
When I leave these things on earth must stay.
Though I toiled for a painting rare
To hang on my wall, I must leave it there
Though I call it mine and boast its worth
I must give it up when I quit this earth
All that I gather and all that I keep
I must leave behind when I fall asleep
And I wonder often, what will I own
In that other life when I pass along.
What shall He find and what shall He see
In the soul that answers the call for me'
Will the Great Judge find when my task is through
That my soul has gathered some riches, too'
Or at the last it will be mine to find
That all I had worked for was left behind.
A New House
The Lord Jesus is now in heaven, the “Fathers house.” He has gone there to “prepare a place” for all who have put their trust in Him. There is a sense, however, in which believers may have a part in preparing that place. That thought was brought to my attention as I read these observations by an unknown writer:
“I once had friends who were traveling abroad. Intending to build a new house upon their return, in all their journeying the dream of that new home was constantly in their minds. When they therefore could secure a beautiful picture, statue, or vase, they purchased in and sent it on ahead to await their arrival. The same thing was done with rare and curious treasures, which afterward, when placed in their new home, could be linked with happy memories and in this way contribute to their future enjoyment.” The writer then made this application: “I love to think that we, in these pilgrimage days on earth, are doing the same for our heavenly home. The kindly deed that made a rare picture in somebodys life, the little sacrifice that blossomed into joy, the helpful friendshipall these we shall find again. Whatever of beauty, tenderness, faith, or love we can put into others lives will be among our treasures in heaven.”
Going to Our Treasure
A woman met a friend of her fathers who had not seen him for many years. The womans father was a devout Christian, so she found great joy in telling his old acquaintance about her dads trust in the Lord, and the way he faced suffering, trials, and even the prospect of death.
The friend, however, had lived a different kind of life. Having given himself over completely to earning money and hoarding every cent he could, he had become very wealthy. But he didnt have the same glad anticipation of the future as his friend did. He explained it to the daughter in this way: “Your father can be more optimistic about heaven than I for a very simple reason. He is going to his treasure. Ill be leaving mine!”
Treasures in heaven are laid up only as treasures on earth are laid down.
Jesus confronts his disciples with a basic choice between laying up treasure on earth and laying up treasure in heaven (Matt. 6:19-24). It is human and natural to want to lay up treasure so Jesus tells his disciples, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” not on earth. Why should we not lay up treasure on earth? For three reasons:
First, laying up treasure on earth is daft because in the long run such treasure is of very little value. You cant keep it (moth and rust consume it), nor take it with you (think of the rich fool, Luke 12:16-21). It cannot satisfy you; you think its going to bring you joy but it never does. When someone asked an immensely rich man whether his wealth had brought him joy, he replied, “No, nothing tastes now.”
Second, laying up treasure on earth is dangerous because such treasure destroys spiritual awareness. If your eyes are filled with light and working properly, your body will be able to move easily and safely. If you cant see clearly, you will lack physical ease and poise. Similarly, if your heart is possessed by what this world and this life offers, you will not be able to see spiritual issues clearly, and when you read the Bible, its full meaning will escape you.
Third, laying up treasure on earth is disastrous because no one can serve two masters. Even double agents are working for one country or organization in a way that they are not working for the other. In the same way, we cannot serve God and possessions. And to have God pass the verdict that one has not served him is lifes ultimate disaster.
Thats All Mine!
George W. Truett, a well-known pastor, was invited to dinner in the home of a very wealthy man in Texas. After the meal, the host led him to a place where they could get a good view of the surrounding area.
Pointing to the oil wells punctuating the landscape, he boasted, “Twenty-five years ago I had nothing. Now, as far as you can see, its all mine.” Looking in the opposite direction at his sprawling fields of grain, he said, “Thats all mine.” Turning east toward huge herds of cattle, he bragged, “Theyre all mine.” Then pointing to the west and a beautiful forest, he exclaimed, “That too is all mine.”
He paused, expecting Dr. Truett to compliment him on his great success. Truett, however, placing one hand on the mans shoulder and pointing heavenward with the other, simply said, “How much do you have in that direction?”
The man hung his head and confessed, “I never thought of that.”
The body of David Livingstone was buried in England where he was born, but his heart was buried in the Africa he loved. At the foot of a tall tree in a small African village the natives dug a hole and placed in it the heart of this man who they loved and respected.
If your heart were to be buried in the place you loved most during life, where would it be? In your pocketbook? In an appropriate space down at the office? Where is your heart'
At our 1987 church picnic someone went through a number of cars and stole various items. Donna K.s purse and glasses were taken. Later, someone found her purse intact, except for some missing loose change. Shed put all her money in the offering plate that morning! (Later, her glasses were also found.)
There are few things that determined thieves cant steal. In the fall of 1988 three paintings by Vincent van Gogh, including his early masterpiece, “The Potato Eaters,” were stolen from a museum in Europe. Experts had shielded the museum with a silent alarm system and two guards. Yet thieves got to the paintings, estimated to be worth about $50 million.