Life With Meaning
The essence of a right relationship is to keep your heart warm and tender toward God, first of all, by setting your heart on Him in genuine love.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing alright? Oh, I’m glad to be back with you once again and I trust that in the blessing of God we may have something here that will bless and encourage and strengthen your heart. I thought we’d walk around in a chapter in the Old Testament for a day or so. Deuteronomy chapter 6 where God says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.” Christians don’t believe in three gods, they believe in one God just as our Jewish friends do.
But a God who has manifested himself as father and son and Holy Spirit and so we stand with the holy scriptures, the Old and the New Testament both, in saying that our God is one God. That being so, what does He asks us to do? He says, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. And beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.”
Christian education obviously begins in the home and we have to remind ourselves constantly, you and I, that the responsibility for teaching the Word of God begins with mother and father taking that young child and teaching the truths of the Word of God. Have you faced that as yet in your own life, dear friend? It does no good to say, “Well, the schools are pagan and the national culture is turned away from God and the godless element throughout the whole world is taking over,” you can sit and bemoan your condition but that isn’t going to help any. The place to start is in your own home and at your own fireside and with your own children. Notice then what He says, “these words shall be in thine heart and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children.” How do you do this?
More things are caught than are taught. They’re caught. They are absorbed, so to speak, by this small fry as they observe what mother and daddy say and do. And so you can see the wisdom then in this command. “Talk about the statutes, the truths of the Word of God. “Talk about them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Does that mean that we’re always going to be spouting scripture? Not at all.
It does mean that when there is an opportunity to think about the Word of God, you’re going to do it. Every day has in it a number of so-called empty spaces. Sometimes they only last for 5 or 10 seconds and sometimes they’re several minutes long where you don’t have to think about anything especially. Where your mind can dwell on whatever it will. At that point, God says, “Talk about the Word of God, think about the Word of God, meditate on the Word of God, so that it becomes part of your lifestyle.”
I sometimes talk with an audience and tell them, “You know, if I came to your house for supper, the best way to throw a complete panic into that dinner occasion would be to say, ‘Now, while we’re having dinner, let’s talk about the Word of God. What book shall we talk about? Let’s talk about Ephesians, that’s a great book. Dad, you talk about the first chapter and sister, you talk about the second chapter, you know, being made alive in Christ and all that, and mom, you talk about the third chapter, God is able to do exceeding abundantly about all that we ask or think, and brother, you talk about the fourth chapter, and I’ll take five and six and wind it up.’”
Well, by the time I got through saying that, the entire family would be in the state of shock. You see, because ordinarily, we don’t talk about the Bible. We talk about who’s going with who and what can be see and heard what happened today at the office what happened today when the cat got loose and we’re afraid she got into bad company or whatever it may be. We don’t talk about the Bible ordinarily at the dinner table. And what God is saying is, it seems to me, He’s saying, get comfortable with the Word of God, comfortable enough so that you can talk about it without any stress or strain when you’re at ease at home and when you’re walking along by the way, when you’re on a journey, when you’re on your way to work.
And then think about the Word of God when you’re ready to go to sleep. Let the last word be God’s Word. And think about the Word of God when you get up. Let the first word in your consciousness be something from God’s Word. The importance of a quiet time in the morning is so very keen and strategic. To have a time when God speaks to you in the morning before the rest of the day falls in on you, so to speak. These are things that God tells us to do concerning His Word. And it grows out of a love for God, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God,” and then He says, “these words shall be in thine heart.”
If indeed, beloved, if indeed your heart is set on God, you’ll be glad to have Him talk to you, won’t you? Of course, you will. You take with a young fellow who is in love with a girl and he calls her up. Do you sometimes wonder what teenagers find to talk about for an hour and a half on the phone? They’re so desperately, eternally in love and so they’d talk about this and that. A friend of mine said he happened upon his son who was singing into the telephone and he walked up to him and he said, “Son, what are you singing?” And the son said, “Oh, don’t interrupt, dad. She and I are singing a duet on the phone.”
He had been talking to his lady love and they decided to sing together on the phone. Isn’t that touching? Well see, when you love somebody you like to talk with him or her. And all God is saying is, “How about setting your heart on Me so that you like to hear from Me and then get comfortable with Me so that I can talk to you and you won’t be under stress and strain.” Pretty good idea, wouldn’t you say? Yes, a pretty good idea. So He said, “Teach them to your children.” The essence of Christian education begins in the home and then it can continue to the church and the school or wherever.
Now, He says, “Don’t forget God.” It’s very easy to drift away from your original commitments to the Lord. The tendency of the fire, my old boss, Victor, used to say, the tendency of the fire is to go out. And it’s very easy just to cool off, so to speak, in the ardor of your faith; easy to forget your original commitments. And so God constantly warns His children not to forget Him, “Thou forget not the Lord which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt from the house of bondage.” Don’t forget Him.
Again and again He says this in these opening chapters of Deuteronomy. Why? Well, because we are forgetful people. And what happens, it seems to me, is that we retain the form and drop the reality. We retain the form of religious commitment and drop the reality of it. Have you ever looked around a congregation while they were singing the old hymn “Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to Thee. Take my moments and my days. Let them flow in ceaseless praise. Take my silver and my gold. Not a might would I withhold. Take myself and I will be, ever always only for Thee. Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord, to Thee.”
What a beautiful hymn of commitment, that is. But look around in the congregation and see people singing idly these high-end noble concepts and ask yourself, “How many of us mean what we are saying to God in this moment?” Well, you can see how serious people are about part of that hymn, at least. If you’ll just look around again when the offering time comes and those same people who said “Take my silver and my gold. Not a might would I withhold,” actually reached in to get change for a dollar bill from the offering basket because they don’t want to give quite that much to God.
Alright, how much you give and what you do are, of course, your own business. Simon Peter said that to Ananias and Sapphira, “While thou hast it, was it not thy known to do it as you pleased.” And so what you do and what you give and all of that is strictly your own business. What I’m saying is our tendency is to retain the form while dropping the reality and God says, “Don’t forget Me. Remember Me. I’m the one. I’m the one that brought you out of Egypt. I’m the one that delivered you from bondage. I’m the one that did these things for you. Hey, don’t forget Me,” that’s what God is saying.
And so the essence of a right relationship is to keep your heart warm and tender toward God and you do that, first of all, by setting your heart on Him in genuine love, and second, by listening to Him and His word day after passing day. Now, all of this is a background to what I want to go on and talk with you about the next time we get together. And that is the question of meaning. Sometime ago, a person wrote a book about teachers and one of the chapters had to do with the question of a meaningful life.
This man who was a professor in a large university who authored the book had done quite generous sampling of the opinions of teachers, public school teachers and those in higher education and so on, and asked them whether or not their profession and the life they were living had any meaning. And a high percentage of them answered in the negative. Many of them were chronic joiners and travelers and doers and all of that, but after all of the frenetic and frantic pace that they maintained year after a year in their profession, they had to admit that there wasn’t much meaning to it.
Now, this is not limited, my friend, to professional people. You find folk in every walk of life who think that life is a drag, it’s a bore, there isn’t any meaning to it. And that’s why so many folk make that tragic mistake of ending their life. That’s the one mistake you can’t go back and do over. And so they just blow themselves away in sheer desperation because there isn’t any meaning to life. Well, you and I better get in touch with the One who can give meaning and I’ll talk about that next time we get together.
Dear Father today, help us to live lives with meaning, for Jesus’ sake, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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