Just a drop, and maybe not even that - part two

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
All the cops have wooden legs
And the bulldogs all have rubber teeth
And the hens lay soft-boiled eggs

The farmers' trees are full of fruit
And the barns are full of hay
Oh I'm bound to go
Where there ain't no snow
Where the rain don't fall
The winds don't blow
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains. - The Big Rock Candy Mountains, Harry McClintock

As wonderful as the pleasures of the Big Rock Candy Mountains sound, we know that they are just a foretaste of the joys of heaven. In fact, heaven's joys are not bound in just having a more frequent (or even never-ceasing) taste of the pleasures of this earth at all. The joy and pleasures of heaven are not found in a place (although heaven is a place) nor are they in happy circumstance (though heaven is that for sure), but it is wrapped up in a person.

The foretaste of heaven that God brings to me today is not focused on the gift at all. In its proper context it is focused on the Giver. The gift is wonderful for sure, but the Giver so much more. In fact, God is so, rightfully, focused on himself that he would never give a gift to me that would distract me from him. He had created me to have him as my highest thought, loftiest goal, and utter satisfaction. Why would he grow a tree with sweet fruit in my path that would lead me far from him? That would be no gift at all. It would be a curse. And a devilish one at that.

The foretaste is not in the physical pleasures themselves, but in the provision that God has made for me to enjoy them. Where is my rightful focus when my children succeed? On him. Where is my thankfulness ultimately directed when I close out a productive yet relaxing day? Squarely on him. As he gives gifts to be out of his great love for me, and I receive the gifts born of that love this side of heaven, I come to glimpse (in a small measure but a significant one) one thing: him.

Now the love gifts that he will bestow upon me in the place where his will is always done will lead me to a fuller and more perfect contemplation and appreciation of him than they will this side of heaven. A greater love will well up in me than that which is even possible here. That is not because of the Giver. No, it rests on me: the receiver. Even though he would never give me anything that would pull me from him, I am not so lofty in my perspective that I will not chase hard after them rather than him. Sinful person that I am that is what I am prone to do.

Now, this whole line of thinking was unlocked for me when I actually paid attention to the parable Jesus told in Luke 7:40-43. But more on that later.  


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