A story is told of German sculptor Johann von Dannecker, who spent eight years working on an image of Christ’s face. People who looked at the finished sculpture reportedly starting crying, deeply moved by Dannecker’s powerful rendition.
When the sculptor’s fame began spreading, someone offered him a large sum of money to create a statue of the Roman goddess Venus. But Dannecker replied, “After gazing so long into the face of Christ, do you now think I can turn my attention to some heathen goddess?”
That pretty much says it all. When we gaze into the face of the living Lord, when we feast at His table, we don’t want the scraps of the world. We see the world for what it is. And we also see that it only has cheap imitations to offer us.
Years ago a group from our church spent a few days in houseboats on Shasta Lake. My friend Dennis and his wife came along as well.
Dennis decided that he needed some sunscreen, so he spotted a bottle of orange-colored liquid, poured a bunch of it into his hand, and slathered himself with it. When he walked over to his wife and tried to kiss her, she said, “Honey, you smell bad! You smell fishy!”
So Dennis picked up the bottle he’d been using and took a closer look at it. He thought he had sunscreen, but what he really got was fish attractant.
The world is like that. We think we’re getting something wonderful, especially because of the way marketers present things. They can make something that’s so wicked look so good, and as a result, we want it. But like Dennis’ sunscreen, it turns out to be something different altogether, and it stinks.
We can feast at the Lord’s table and no longer want the things the world offers. David wrote in Psalm 23, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; . . . my cup runs over” (verse 5 NLT). God has prepared a table before us.
If we have been walking close to God, we, too, can look back on our lives and say, “My cup is running over. He gives me more than I need.”
For instance, the Bible not only promises that God will pardon us from our sin, but according to Isaiah 55:7, He will “abundantly pardon” (NKJV).
Not only is God able to give us what we pray for, but according to Ephesians 3:20, He is able to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (NKJV).
Not only are we conquerors in Christ, but according to Romans 8:37, we are “more than conquerors” (NKJV).
And we not only possess peace in Him, but according to Philippians 4:7, He gives us a peace that “surpasses all understanding” (NKJV).
I think that sometimes we don’t fully realize all that God has done for us. I know that I take His blessings in my life for granted far too often.
David was able to look back on his life and say, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” (Psalm 23:6 NKJV).
In the same way, as we look back on our lives as Christians, we’re able to see a pattern of God’s blessings over the years. While the world was feasting on the rotting carcasses of sin, we feasted at His table prepared for us.
While the world feasted on cheap imitations, we feasted on the real thing.
And while the world drank from polluted, diseased watering holes, we drank from still waters.
Ultimately, as the results of sin catch up with people who haven’t had time for God, we’ll find that goodness and mercy have followed us all the days of our lives.
Of course, when we’re going through certain situations, we may not see his goodness or mercy. Perhaps we even question God on occasion and say, “Lord, why did you allow this?”
But as the years pass, we’re able to see God’s hand in a way that we couldn’t see when those events were taking place.
This is well illustrated in the tumultuous life of Joseph in the Old Testament, who had numerous setbacks. Yet in the end he said to his brothers who sold him into slavery, “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20 NKJV).
Joseph was able to look back and recognize that God’s goodness and mercy had followed him all the days of his life. And if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, you can look back and see the same thing.
But even if you’ve wandered from God, He can put goodness and mercy on your trail, because the Bible says it’s the goodness of God that leads us to repentance (see Romans 2:4 NKJV).
Maybe you haven’t walked as closely with God as you ought to. Maybe you’ve been going to the diseased watering holes of this world or have been trying on fish attractant, and it stinks. You’re not happy doing what you’re doing.
Come back to the Shepherd. He loves you and will welcome you with His goodness and His mercy.
I think the Christian life is greatest life there is. In fact, I would still be a Christian even if there weren’t the hope of Heaven. As I look at the lives that many of my non-Christian acquaintances have lived and then look at the way my life has gone, I still would choose this path, even if there were not a Heaven.
That’s because the Christian life is better than anything this world has to offer.
But the good news is there is a Heaven. And it isn’t an afterthought or a fringe benefit. Rather, Heaven is the ultimate destination. And really, everything else in life is simply a warm-up to the big event when we’ll see God face to face.
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Originally published at WND.com
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