Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Good Life

“(God) has shown you, O man, what is good:  To act with justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

Philosophers ask, “What is the good life and who has it?” When I ponder those questions I think of my good friend, Roy.

Roy was a gentle, quiet man who refused to assert himself, who sought no recognition for himself, who left the care of his life to his Heavenly Father and occupied himself solely with his Father’s will. His was a heavenly perspective. As he often reminded us: “We are but sojourners here.”

For ten years or more Roy and I met each week to pray for one another. His prayers were my weekly benediction.

Roy died last fall. The church was filled for his memorial service, where his friends reminisced for more than two hours over his influence on their lives. Most spoke of his kindness, his selfless giving, his humility and gentle compassion. He was, for many, a visible expression of God’s unconditional love.

After the service, his son, Dan, drove to the assisted –living facility where his father lived out his final days and gathered up his belongings: two pairs of shoes, a few shirts and pants, some socks and few odds and ends—the sum of Roy’s earthly goods. He loaded them into the back of a mini-van and delivered them to a local charity. Roy never had “the good life,” but he was “rich toward God” in good deeds (Luke 12:21).

George MacDonald asks, “Which one is the possessor of heaven and earth: He who has a thousand houses, or he who, with no house to call his own, has ten at which his knock arouses instant jubilation?”

Roy’s was the good life after all.

DHR

3 comments:

gcorron said...

To be loved by your friends and have many mourners at your funeral is indeed a good thing. It should remind us that the Son of Man gave up these things for our sake. His friends ran away from him and denied him as he died. Who was it who paid tribute to him at the cross? Not those whom he had healed or patiently taught, but rather the coarsest element who saw more value in his tunic than in his life. What a horrible thought. What if you came to pick up your friend's few belongings and found they had already been picked over and sold for a few bucks?

Jesus calls us not to the good life in any sense, not even to a lovely memorial service and recognition for our acts of selflessness, but to standing by the cross to receive a little bit of the shame and humiliation he received, to be disowned by friends and family (Matt 10:21-22). Why? For the sake of the gospel of salvation by faith alone, or what is sometimes depreciated in the church as "head knowledge" or "doctrine" (2 Tim 2:8-9). Do you love God's knowledge that much?

graced said...

Only when we see face to face will it all be clear. The first last, and the last first.
Meanwhile, the meek lamb, the selfless Servant, the obedient Son shows us the way.
Thank God for the occasional Roy in our lives, the one who reminds us of what really matters.

gcorron said...

In the end, good works in the name of Jesus are deceptive (Matt 7:22-23). The Bible is clear that only one good work really matters, to believe what God has clearly revealed in the Bible (John 6:29).

Paul never denied the clarity of Scripture in 1 Cor 13:12. He merely said that our knowledge is not yet complete.

However, the knowledge that God has revealed to us in Scripture is sufficient to make us wise for salvation (2 Tim 3:15) through faith alone, not by works, lest any man should boast (Eph 2:9).

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