Friday, March 16, 2012

On a Fruitful Life.1

"The fruit of people's lives will reveal the life they have chosen to live." -- Jesus

"So what is your most important accomplishment," the interviewer asked as he frowned at my admittedly unimpressive resume.

I told one of my sons about it and how awkward it feels to try to defend the significance of one's life.  Then I told him about the night I asked my girlfriend (his future mom) to marry me.  I explained to her that although I did not know for sure what I wanted to do for a career I did know for sure that I wanted to follow God's will wherever that might lead.  Little did she know that we would have eight sons, live far away from friends and family for many years, not have her horses...she probably would have stopped me at the eight kids part!  The point, of course, is that our promise to each other is the primary thing that has shaped our lives.

Similarly, the promise I made to Jesus to follow him is the primary thing that has shaped me as an individual.  And although I cannot see how or whether my life has been significant, I know Him who does!  "Does God know what we will become", asks the Scottish preacher George MacDonald and answered his own question this way: "As surely as He knows the great oak he has planted in the heart of the acorn!"

For thirty-five years of marriage (grand accomplishment that!) we've raised eight sons, who are responsible, good, hard-working men and fathers of our seven grandchildren.  I've served my employers faithfully advancing their goals, products and services to the best of my ability. As a pastor performed many weddings and, to the best of my knowledge, few of them have divorced; helped parents raise their kids, comforted the bereaved and counseled the broken and battered, loved the unlovable, and generally tried to help make life a little better for those with whom I've come in contact.  As a bus driver tried to show love & respect to each child no matter their circumstances.  I'm content with the limited view of things I have and trust Him that where I've faltered or fallen he'll keep picking me back up to try again!

In his Unspoken Sermon, The New Name, MacDonald muses on the meaning of Jesus' promise to those who overcome: "...I will give a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it."— Revelation 2:17.
"I say, in brief, the giving of the white stone with the new name is the communication of what God thinks about the man to the man. It is the divine judgment, the solemn holy doom of the righteous man, the “Come, thou blessed,” spoken to the individual....The true name is one which expresses the character, the nature, the being, the meaning of the person who bears it. It is the man's own symbol,—his soul's picture, in a word,—the sign which belongs to him and to no one else. Who can give a man this, his own name? God alone. For no one but God sees what the man is, or even, seeing what he is, could express in a name-word the sum and harmony of what he sees.

To whom is this name given? To him that overcometh. When is it given? When he has is only when the man has become his name that God gives him the stone with the name upon it, for then first can he understand what his name signifies. It is the blossom, the perfection, the completion, that determines the name; and God foresees that from the first, because he made it so; but the tree of the soul, before its blossom comes, cannot understand what blossom it is to bear, and could not know what the word meant, which, in representing its own unarrived completeness, named itself. Such a name cannot be given until the man is the name.
 God's name for a man must then be the expression in a mystical word—a word of that language which all who have overcome understand—of his own idea of the man, that being whom he had in his thought when he began to make the child, and whom he kept in his thought through the long process of creation that went to realize the idea. To tell the name is to seal the success—to say, “In thee also I am well pleased.”

The great hope we who follow Jesus hold in our hearts is that there is coming a day when we will finally have all our questions about our identity, purpose and significance answered, by the only One who judges truly!

I can hardly wait!