the majority of my time on the 1st day home was spent in sleeping. i slept in until 10 o’clock this morning. then i had to take a 2-hour nap from 3-5pm. that was weird. and now i’m ready to go to bed again.
but i thought i’d share a bit about what i learned during the devotion at work yesterday.
it was like a slap in the face from God (although i doubted He liked doing that).
my colleauge, aum, shared the story of an old man who had a son visiting on his farm. they were out reading on the porch together on a beautiful afternoon. while the son was so engrossed in the papers he was poring over, his dad pointed a finger out towards the mountains and said, “son, what’s that over there?” he looked up and answered, “it’s a herd of cows, dad.” then he went back to his reading. a few seconds later, his dad made the same question again, “son, what’s that over there?” surprised, he replied, “they’re cows, dad.” then he went back to his reading. a little while later, his father asked again, “son, what’s that over there?” annoyed, he looked up and didn’t even bother to look to the direction his dad’s finger pointed anymore, he turned and said, “they are COWS, father.” then he went back to his reading. a short moment passed, the father repeated the same question. now the son’s patience got so thin that he said with an edge, “dad, they are cows. the same ones that have been standing over there for this past 5 minutes. what’s it with you?” he made a face and went back to his reading. as crazy as it may sound, the father asked the question again for the 5th time. when the words slipped out of the father’s lips, the son angrily stared at his dad with the will to deliver the message that “you’ve just ruined my evening” long and hard. and he stormed out of the porch.
dinner time came and his dad didn’t come down to eat. a little bit guilty, he tiptoed up to his dad’s bedroom. the windows were open and the curtains were softly flying in the evening breeze. the golden beam splashed onto his father’s back…radiating a presence of peace in the room. he sat down quietly by his father’s bed and looked at the one who had been raising him since he was a baby boy. he never realized how his dad had aged so much. the wrinkles on his face, the slim arms and legs…all gave him a sign that maybe his dad wouldn’t be with him long. as the realization struck, he spotted a worn journal carefully placed by the bedside. he picked it up and opened to the last entry:
“i’m so glad my boy came to visit me. we were sitting together in the afternoon sun reading. i remember that when he was young, he used to sit in that chair and look at the mountains and grazing cows. he would ask me for 20 times at least what those animals were. and i would always answer, ‘they are cows, son’. today, i did the same thing. he got short with me at my 5th question. i’m so sorry i did that.”
in revelation 2, john rebuked the ephesian church about how they’d obtained and professed to do all the good things but simply forgot the first love they had in Jesus. many christians today are prone to be more like the church in ephesus. we honor good deeds and charity. we applaud those who feed the hungry; respect those who help the poor; support those who go out in mission work.
but like paul said in his letter to the corinthian church – without love, everything is nothing.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,but have not love, I gain nothing.
it just hit me real hard that morning when i listened to this message. God was speaking to me in the hardest way possible to wake me up…to remind me that what i’m doing, although it’s good…helping the poor and all, doesn’t mean anything to Him if my relationship with Him is still weak and distant.
for we are not called to serve, preach the good news or save people in this world.
we are called to God Himself. and wherever He sends us to, we will go.
nothing else matters.