Lately, I’ve intended to reach out to more people with the love of Christ in a more meaningful way. While my intentions are good, my actions often prove differently.
I confess, instead of going out and offering food to the homeless in my community this past rainy Sunday afternoon, I chose to sit at home and watch golf on TV. I further confess I felt convicted at one point in the coverage; as an aerial shot showed the incredible manmade beauty of the golf course and its surroundings, these words rang in my head: Vanity, vanity, all of this is vanity.
It occurred to me that hundreds, if not thousands, of people must have worked on that golf course over the years. Some of those people probably dedicated their working lives to the effort. The result was very beautiful. But what did they really accomplish?
They spent all those hours and years so that some athletes could be challenged as they skillfully tried to hit small balls into small holes while fans looked on in admiration. I enjoy golf and watching the pros play. In fact, I probably enjoy it a little too much. After all, what value does it hold?
Actually, what value does any sport or place or personality or goal – really anything – have when viewed in light of eternity? We spend countless dollars and hours in pursuit of pleasure, and all of it is wasted. In the words of Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes, it’s “meaningless.”
At some point in the telecast, I got off the couch and made myself a sandwich. While I was making it, I thought if I had braved the rain to find someone more in need of that sandwich than me, I suppose I could have asked him this question: “What is the most important thing to you?” It’s likely he would have answered, “To stay alive.” That would seem like a pitiably, perfectly reasonable answer.
Someone who is living literally hand-to-mouth with no home, bed, roof over his head, or hope has no assurance of security or even life from day to day. My offering of a sandwich might be quite a step up from the garbage the homeless are forced to scavenge. The nourishment of that sandwich might be enough to keep that homeless person alive for another day or two.
But would that be enough? Of course not. Only Jesus is enough. He’s more than enough.
The most important thing in life is what a person believes about Jesus. What a person believes about Jesus will change not only his or her outlook on the day but on the rest of his or her earthly life, and it will also determine where a person will spend the rest of forever.
Jesus gives hope.
I can only imagine the indignity, shame, and discomfort experienced by a homeless person. I thank God I have never been forced to experience homelessness. But compared to the worst sadness, desperation, and pain a homeless person or anyone else has endured, hell would be worse.
On the other hand, compared to double mayo and mustard on hearty, grainy bread with three slices of ham, two slices of sharp cheddar cheese, and a couple of slices of yellow bell pepper for crunch – just the way I like it – or compared to the greatest pleasure anyone of us has ever experienced in this world, heaven will be so much better!
I could share the love of Christ by giving a homeless person a delicious sandwich, and every once in a while, I should. But the greatest gift I could give anyone is the gospel.
Anything else is just vanity.