Friday, January 8, 2010

Insights from the Word: Renewed Purpose

As the New Year dawned on all of us, what have you thought about its arrival? I j0309389hope that a feeling of excitement was boiling within us. If not, then we will be disappointed again. Life must always be filled with longings for better things and a renewed purpose for every year that arrives. Simply put, it is having a shimmering hope that can never be drowned out by any negative circumstances encountered in the past year. There is an attitude of looking forward for a better tomorrow. And this is what God has embedded in us to have as we live our lives. It must reach its fullest potential. Nothing is farther from the truth. Remember that we were made to be a “Somebody” not a “Nobody.”

There is an old legend of a swan and a crane: A beautiful swan alighted by the banks of the water in which a crane was wading about seeking snails. For a few moments the crane viewed the swan in stupid wonder and then inquired: "Where do you come from?" "I come from heaven!" replied the swan. "And where is heaven?" asked the crane. "Heaven!" said the swan, "Heaven! Have you never heard of heaven?" And the beautiful bird went on to describe the grandeur of the Eternal City. She told of streets of gold, and the gates and walls made of precious stones; of the river of life, pure as crystal, upon whose banks is the tree whose leaves shall be for the healing of the nations. In eloquent terms the swan sought to describe the hosts who live in the other world, but without arousing the slightest interest on the part of the crane. Finally the crane asked: "Are there any snails there?" "Snails!" repeated the swan; "no! Of course there are not." "Then," said the crane, as it continued its search along the slimy banks of the pool, "you can have your heaven. I want snails!" Why do we hold on so tightly to what we are familiar with? The things of heaven are so much superior; but we would hate to give up our "snails." We need to pray to our good Lord to help us to desire the things of heaven, the better things beyond this life.

Having such a perspective allows us to maximize our existence on earth and intentionally pursue to better ourselves in every opportunity we receive. It is to acquire a renewed purpose to propel us to gain the best of what is still available. Here’s an illustration from a Sycamore fig tree that the chief tax collector named Zacchaeus who climbed it and eventually changed his life and gave him a renewed purpose in life: A sycamore is a sturdy tree with wide-spreading branches. It has a short trunk with low limbs that allow for ease in climbing. The name "sycamore" is Greek for false fig. A normal fig has soft skin. It is juicy, tasty and sold rather expensively. On the other hand, the fruit of the sycamore tree looks like a fig but its skin is hard. The fruit is inferior to the fig tree and has to be punctured to become edible. The moment a sycamore fruit is pierced, a breath of fresh air enters it and it will ripen into a soft, sweet, juicy fruit--just like a real fig. So while normal figs ripen on their own, a sycamore fruit will not. They require external intervention.

What an interesting similarity that we could draw out from such a tree that resembles many of our situations as the New Year approaches. Each of us whether we agree or not apparently needs an external intervention to have a renewed purpose for living. Jesus was the external intervention that we need to thrust us to greater things that we do not intend to become. It was due to many extenuating circumstances that we have lost our original purpose and became accustomed without it. We must never lose sight of the better things just because we have what we need and they are just that. God’s plan and purpose has many things to offer those that are ready to receive it. If you are willing, then be ready for 2010 because God is in it!

Let’s talk again!