Thursday, April 13, 2006

Eternity in their hearts

(Following are the notes from a recent talk on campus at a soul food dinner.)

A soul food dinner is the perfect ending to "Infinity Weekend." Soul food is all about community, comfort, and love. Just the smell of the chicken and the beans and the corn bread as they are waiting to be devoured makes your mouth water. The memories of other great meals shared with loved ones, some of whom you may not see very often, or who may have gone ahead of you into eternity, makes the meal seem to be part of something bigger than just this one night. Something that is part of generation after generation. Something that is even part of eternity. One of the things that I look forward to is enjoying feasts in heaven. Jesus has always been one to love a good party.

Tonight we are all hungry for soul food. All the time we are hungry for love. People are hungry for love because they are created to live in eternal relationship with God who showed Himself to us in Jesus Christ.

Saint Augustine wrote in his autobiography about this hunger for God: "Thou has formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee."
King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived according to the bible, asked for wisdom above riches or power or anything else, often thought deeply about the human condition.

He wrote:
I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:10-11

Way back in the ancient times, King Solomon observed this restlessness in people. This burden that God laid on humanity—the burden of eternity in their hearts. Have you ever felt burdened by this yearning for more? Have you ever wanted your life to count for something bigger than you are? Have you ever had tough questions about why God has allowed something to happen in the world? You are in good company: even the wisest man that ever lived had these questions. You are created for eternity, but you are now bound by time. You were, in fact, created for love, in love, by love, through love, with love, to love. And not just today, not just tomorrow, but forever.

But life is hard, you might shout out at me from your table. Life is hard and I am having trouble holding on to hope. A very wise follower of Jesus once said: We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. Does anyone know who that was? That follower was Martin Luther King, Jr. If anyone knew about living a life that counted beyond his lifetime, it was him.

Jeremiah, an ancient prophet speaking to the people of God living in exile, said

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying:
"I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with loving-kindness. (Jeremiah 31:3)

The whole bible, in fact, is a love story. A story of God’s everlasting, faithful love for the people he created to live in relationship with Him. From the beginning to the present to the future. God is love.

(Hold up handwritten John 3:16 poster)

I’m sure you have noticed these John 3:16 guys who hold up posters at football games in stadiums. They want to say something to people. Something to answer the restlessness in their hearts. The problem is that people who grew up in the church know what John 3:16 is understand the message, and those who didn’t have no clue what this cryptic message means. John 3:16 comes from the famous story of a religious leader who comes to Jesus at night to ask him what he must do to have eternal life. Jesus tells him that he must be born again—start fresh by the power of God—all because of the overwhelming love of God that carries us into eternity.

John 3:16 and 17 says
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

I especially like these verses in following paraphrase from The Message:
"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again."

God. God loves. God loves the world. God is love. Jesus came not to condemn, but to save. Jesus is the answer to that restlessness in your heart. Seek after him.
This is the message I want to leave with you tonight whether you follow Jesus or not. People are hungry for love because they are created to live in eternal relationship with God who showed Himself to us in Jesus Christ.

Micah Girl


Blogger see-through faith said...

we are in need of a SHORT bio from you for OT devotional

Can you skip over to


1:46 PM  

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