We do live in strange times. Someone has called this the ‘Age of Anxiety’, and it seems appropriate enough. Have you noticed a lot of road rage? People honk at the slightest provocation. Patience is in short supply everywhere. We live in a hurry-up, get-it-done-now, grab-the-gusto kind of world. We live in uncertain and anxious times today.
Dr. Bob Moorehead, former pastor of Seattle’s Overlake Christian Church (who retired in 1998) wrote an essay titled The Paradox of Our Age which appears in his book Words Aptly Spoken, Dr. Moorehead’s 1995 collection of prayers, homilies, and monologues
“The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers; wider freeways but narrower viewpoints. We spend more but have less; we buy more but enjoy it less. We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences but less time. We have more degrees but less sense; more knowledge but less judgement; more experts but more problems; more medicine but less wellness. We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little of God’s Word, watch TV too much, fast too rarely, give too little, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living but not a life. We’ve added years to life, not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbour. We’ve conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things but not better things. We’ve cleaned up the air but polluted the soul. We’ve split the atom but not our prejudice. We write more but learn less. We plan more but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush but not to wait. We have higher incomes but lower morals. We have more food but less appeasement. We build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever but have less communication. We’ve become long on quantity but short on quality.”
Conquering the Inner Space
Every part of that statement seems very true, but I especially like the sentence: We’ve conquered outer space but not inner space. Everything you need to know about modern life is in that sentence. Everything we build is bigger, stronger, faster, and larger. We’ve come a long way in a short time. The engine of human progress hums right along. We send men to the moon, satellites into orbit, and radio waves to the stars. But inner space is another problem. We’re not even close to conquering that. If God is going to speak to our hearts, we need to stop and listen. How intentional are we? By this I mean does your life have purpose? Or do you just drift from one day to the next?
It’s so easy to go through a day, and be very busy, and yet come to the end and say, What did I do today? Busyness is no guarantee that you are actually doing anything important. Busyness may be a cover for a lack of purpose in your life. Too many times we sit on the banks of the river while the current of life rushes right by us. And then one day, we wake up and die. How sad not to find out what really matters in life. To have a purpose, not just filling each day with activity, but finding out what really matters, and then going and doing it. Not everything matters equally. Some things we spend lots of time on don’t really matter at all. But it’s easy to let those things clutter up our days. Have we asked God to direct our day and show us how to live?
Did you know that the Bible speaks about character and spiritual growth? Who we are is more important than where we are. And what we are on the inside is more important than what we do on the outside. After all, if you are the right sort of person on the inside, you are more likely to do what God wants on the outside. The heart matters more to God than geography.
If you want to follow the Christian way of life, it takes resolve and determination. The Christian life is not a 100-yard dash; it’s more like a marathon. Keep on running, and don’t stop until you see Jesus standing at the finish line. The race is so hard, so long, so difficult, and at times so discouraging, you’ll never finish if you don’t keep your eye on the goal. Sometimes the slightest distraction can be disastrous.
In the Olympic Games in Athens, American Matt Emmons was one shot away from winning a Gold Medal in the Men’s Three-Position, 50-Meter Rifle competition. Leading by three points going into the final round, he needed only to hit near the bullseye to win. He took careful aim, pulled the trigger, and waited. But the target never registered a hit. It turns out that while standing in Lane 3, he hit the target in Lane 2, an unbelievable error at that level of competition. The judges gave him a zero score, dropping him from 1st to 8th place, and out of the medals altogether. It happened because he took his eye off the target, and aimed in the wrong place.
The same thing can happen to any of us spiritually. We hear a lot about climbing the ladder of success. That’s well and good, but pity the poor fellow who climbs to the top of the ladder only to discover it’s been leaning against the wrong wall. Find out about Jesus Christ and invite him to be your Saviour.