Life is too short to learn everything ourselves and so I am a great believer in learning from other people. The Bible is full of true life stories and it is God’s intention that they serve as examples for us – the good stories to inspire us and the bad stories to warn us! I am currently reading an amazing book by Myles Munroe called ‘The Glory of Living’.
Myles is a pastor/author/speaker from the Bahamas and I enjoy the spiritual depths of his books. I once saw him being interviewed on TV and a phrase he used caught my attention. He said that he wants to die ’empty’. I like that. What he meant was that he wants to fulfill all of God’s purposes for his life and use up all of his talents before he dies. The graveyard, according to Myles, is the richest place on earth! It contains all the unwritten books, good intentions and unsung songs of people who took their talents to the grave instead of dispensing of them in this life. We have one chance at life and God tells us clearly to redeem the time.
The tragedy of life is that the mundane day-to-day chores seem to swallow up our time. A day that only consists of temporary achievements is a day lost. Yes, the washing needs to be done and the grass needs cutting but somewhere in our days we need to do something that will have eternal consequences. At the end of every day we should analyze how we have ‘spent’ our time. Mundane, temporary life occupations keep many people so occupied that they have no time for God. Myles states in his book, ‘God did not create us to make a living, but to show the world what He is like.’ That is the glory of living. Making a life is not the same as making a living.
In my 50th Jubilee Year I discovered my purpose for being on this earth. For thirty years Rheumatoid Arthritis has crushed and squeezed me. Myles explains it this way, “Sometimes God will ‘squeeze’us to allow trials and hardships, and obstacles to pressure us, not only to test, temper, purify, and strengthen our faith, but also to bring out His glory in us so that others can see Him.”
We have an amazing orange tree in our garden that produces delicious fruit. Oranges have many characteristics that help us identify it as an orange but the glory of an orange, according to Myles, is its juice. To extract the juice requires ‘squeezing’. The glory of a rose is its fragrance and it is best released when the rose is ‘crushed’. Our goal should be to leave a fragrance of God wherever we go. God wants to fill the earth with His glory. As Christians we are to be the ‘aroma of Christ’ and the ‘fragrance of life’. Myles believes that when people have been around us they should say, “Wow! it smells like heaven around here!” Releasing our glory means simply showing God to the world.
Jesus was destined for the Cross of Calvary. After 33 years on earth His ‘moment of glory’ arrived and His mission was finished. He died empty. He poured Himself out for you and I. We are still bathing in His glory after 2000 years! Jesus, the Son perfectly reflected God, His Father. To see Jesus is to see God. To know Jesus is to know God.
Like the moon that simply reflects the light we too are all called to reflect the glory of the Lord while we are alive. When the world looks at us can they see Jesus? The tragedy of an aborted foetus is that the child will never have the opportunity to manifest the glory of God. The tragedy of a human life is to live consumed with the temporal and to ignore the eternal, to miss the opportunity of showing the world who Jesus and God are. Like an old chair that has layers of paint hiding the original wood, so God slowly and often painfully scrapes away the layers the world and sin have deposited on us, to ultimately reveal the glory of His original creation – made in His image.
Friend, God wants to restore you to your original state. Yes, trials and testings may be difficult but remember that God is at work. Don’t be afraid of suffering. The Potter is busy moulding and making His ‘jars of clay ‘into ‘goblets of glory’ so that the world may see Him more clearly. Let’s fulfill our God-given purpose of displaying God to a lost world and in the process make sure that we die ’empty’.