Forever is kind of a long time

There are some really smart people in this world. I’m not one of them. But I run across them as I read blogs from philosopher types and apologists, and news reports of great thinkers and visionaries.

Whoa, I sigh, as I behold their greatness. How do I compete with that? But then I’m usually reminded that life is not a competition to see who can be the smartest, or fastest (that’s the Olympics), the most beautiful or the wealthiest. Though it certainly seems like that’s the mindset of many folks. Life is, or should be, about using the gifts and talents God has given you – and He doesn’t bestow them equally – for His glory and with as much intentional effort as we can muster.

One of the neatest (to use a colloquial term) things about God is that He doesn’t show favoritism. The philosopher who uses his gifts of insight and wisdom to expound the mysteries of spirituality, faith, and life is not more important to God than the single mom without a high school diploma who cleans houses to feed her children and does it all “as unto Him.” He gave them unequal gifts and opportunities so does not expect equal results. But He blesses them equally based on what they do with what they’re given. The parables of the talents in Matthew 25 and the minas in Luke 19 speak very clearly to this.

And I know this, yet when I’m face to screen with mind-boggling intelligence, I can’t quite help but feel inferior and envious. What I also know is that this feeling is a manifestation of the flesh, not the spirit. They war against each other in the life of every believer. I want in my flesh to be superior in the eyes of the watching world, to be thought of as “smarter than the average bear,” to quote an American Yogi. But that’s sin, and in opposition to the Spirit’s prompting to seek praise from God. And that “Well done, good and faithful servant” comes as a reward for humbly and gratefully receiving whatever our gifts and our lot are, and making the most of them…with God as our motivation, our empowerment, and our goal.

That really is the reward I want, more than having friends and family address me as “O wise one.” Though that would be nice too. 🙂  But I can’t expect the former if I am actively seeking the latter. “Man looks at the outward appearance,” because that’s all we can see, “but God looks at the heart.” He sees both, but our desires and motivations are what matter most to Him.

And what matters most to God has eternal ramifications, unlike the relative fleetingness of recognition, admiration, and fame in this life. Eternity seems a long way off (though it may “begin” tomorrow for you or me), and it may be difficult to orient our lives towards it when rewards among the living are more immediate and tangible. But may I remind you of something as I remind myself? Eternity, and its rewards, last FOREVER. Not for the foreseeable future; not till the cows come home; not till the sun refuses to shine or hell freezes over. FOREVER…as in, never ending. EVER.

God, give me the wisdom to forego the rewards of the here and now that will not last, for those that come directly from Your heart and are mine…FOREVER.