But blessing can be heavy. Important. Significant....and it should be.
Follow with me a little exercise: On a sheet of paper, draw a line down the center and a line across the top. Down the left hand side, list all the blessings you can think you would like to have. List them all and don't be shy. Everything your heart desires. Every little thing....even the secret ones you've not told anyone about yet for fear of being thought a dreamer. Make the list long. Don't stop. Keep going. If there are less than 10 you've not really tried. Ok, got them. Now on the right side of the line, list the one blessing we are told is the very highest....an intimate relationship with God. Put it by itself. Nothing more.
Do you, do I believe that one blessing outweighs now and forever all the ones you/I placed on the right side of the paper? If we did, Dr. Crabb says "We would move more quickly from happiness, through the agony of shattered dreams to joy. Few believe the weight of knowing God is more important than the other blessings. Those that arrive at this conviction do so through suffering. Happiness must be stripped away, forcibly, before joy can surface, before we will value and pursue dreams whose fulfillment produces true joy"
I read this verse today. I've inserted the entire thing for ease of reading.....take a look and then join me for a discussion on the importance of this passage.
Habakkuk 3:17-18 (New Living Translation)17 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,[e]
and bring me safely over the mountains.
Did you read that closely? It says in the middle of economic disaster, that he would rejoice in the Lord! That he would be joyful in the God of his salvation!. This is almost to much to stand. Chaos, famine, fear, no hope....and yet he rejoices.
In prayer today, I realized that money is my Achilles heel. Not that I have so much of it to worry about. But the pursuit of it. The feelings of pride that go with it. The security it brings. The sense of accomplishment. Other than this, all my other dreams are basically fulfilled. I have a great wife, a great kid, a great church, great friends, a passion for ministry that while I cannot fulfill it right now, still burns deep inside me and leaves me with the knowledge that I am called for a kingdom purpose.
And yet, Papa is reaching into the deep parts of my soul. He is saying to me, "Brian, are you willing to give it all up in exchange for deep intimacy with me"? Don't believe me? Try on Matthew 10:39 for size. It says:"If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it." Am I willing to lose my life. The trappings of life, the relationships of life? The verse before this one says that if anyone does not give up mother, father, brother and sister for Him, that person is not worthy of Him. Does that mean all my relationships are dead to me? Of course not, just that if they get in the way of my knowing Him all the more, then those relationships are more important than Him and I must realign my priorities once again.
Another verse says, "There is nothing in earth I desire more than you." King David said, "As the deer pants for cool streams of water, so my soul longs after you. When can I come and stand before Him?"
So Papa, today I surrender my money lust to you. Take it from me and replace it with a deep hunger for you. The desire for security found through money, I will find in you. The desire for fulfillment, I will find in you. The desire for public admiration, I will find in your delight in me. I will rejoice in both good times and bad. In plenty, I will be generous and in lack I will trust. Papa, help me to live in the light of heaven, counting this world as worthless trash in exchange for the glory of being with you forever!