Sometimes I fancy a dinner out alone, or going to grab coffee solo. Do not get me wrong, I love time with family and friends; however, they distract me somewhat from my surroundings. As I begin to write this, I am sitting at an Asian eatery in my hometown. It is centrally located between the universities, and has been a hotspot for locals for many years. The atmosphere is what you would expect from an artsy university town: part student, part professor, equal parts hippie and hipster. Aside from the light of a few recognizably God-serving people, there is a profound emptiness and aimlessness about the souls surrounding me.
When my meal came, I took a moment to assess myself before God and prayed. In those moments, I heard the conversations of the people nearby. Two young women were discussing the drug usage of one of their mothers. A motley crew, including yet ignoring a lovely little girl, were considering new gourmet recipes they wish to prepare and were pretty stoked about them. There were some Korean students looking at a fashion book who looked like they stepped out of the same. Then there were three adult friends talking about the cities from which they came and deciding not to “assimilate” to the local ways. It struck me that there was no presence of a higher purpose; no hint of hope, and not a clue of what loving or being loved is. Their compasses were resoundingly their own hearts, along with the fluctuating input of their communities and cultures. It is times like these when I am truly grateful to understand that God has the ability and power to reach into these lives, because these moments make me feel so small and incapable of making the difference required to affect change in them.
Back to the point: what is it that makes the daily details of life empty to an unsaved person, but worthy to the saved? I asked myself, why are these seemingly mundane things not empty for me but were when I heard these patrons speaking about them? I can’t judge these people without considering myself and, more importantly, considering how God sees them.
The answers I considered are twofold:
– Saved people have hope of eternal life, guaranteed by Christ’s work on the cross. (Jn. 10:27-28). There are a variety of outcomes resulting from this truth, one of which is that daily tasks and activities are not the “end all” for the believer. The person who has no hope of eternal life puts all value in the temporal and immediate – because they have nothing else. On the other hand, the Christian puts his/her faith and hope in God (1 Pet. 1:20-21), freeing us to see all life from His perspective.
-Saved people have a guidebook for life (the Bible) which provides standards and commands and purposes for their lives. The Bible gives us a plumb-line against which we check ourselves. It tells us about our Creator, His kingdom program, what to do about sin, how to love our enemies, what family should look like, the past and future, Jesus Christ, et al. It tells us concerning the Lord, that “from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever.” The unbeliever has no source of final truth, making him/her the judge of morality, truth, and everything in between. Unbelievers are bound to the chains of sin, and have to live beneath its great weight. Conversely, by grace Christians are freed from such bondage to maneuver all things to the glory of God.
In other words, God redeems the mundane. The reconciliation of the created with the Creator transforms the emptiness of our deeds apart from Him into something worthwhile because of Him. If you are saved, remember that you have been liberated from living for yourself, and are now to reflect Christ to the world by your life. If you are reading this and do not know Jesus as your Savior, let me tell you that He makes full the emptiness that you have undoubtedly felt and is both able and willing to heal the broken when they come to Him for help.