Saturday, February 25, 2012

Not of This World

Right above my husband's dresser on the wall hangs a very lovely painting of Rome. We purchased the painting, when we met the artist at his very own Art shop two years ago. It was to serve as a reminder of our dream vacation... the one we had hoped to have on our 20th anniversary last year. We used to talk about it all the time. A trip to Italy... the breads, the cheeses, the views, the people, the language. What an unforgettable experience!

At first, after buying the painting, I found myself constantly looking at it and envisioning our vacation. However, after a while, that seemed to change. Nowadays, I seldom notice it on the wall. It is now overpowered by the all the other things in the room. Ironically enough, we seldom talk of our "cherished" future vacation either.

I guess our focus is now elsewhere.

A good friend of mine gave me a beautiful necklace for my birthday this year. It has a charm with an inscription saying, "Not of this World". It's a very pretty charm, and the words serve as reminders of who I really am and how I want to live.

Sometimes we really need reminders.

I shared with my students the other day the story behind the miniature "Pinocchio" that sits on my desk. I told them that I have kept that little toy on my desk as a reminder. You see when I was a little girl, I was very much afraid of the Pinocchio cartoons. Yet for some reason, I still watched them. Nevertheless, I'd have nightmares at night because I would picture myself being one of the characters and possibly becoming some kind of mule or donkey.
But why was I so afraid? Well, honestly.... I had developed a habit of not telling the truth. Better yet, I began to make up stories and share them with my friends. I'd tell all kinds of fictitious stories, and my friends all seemed to believe me. Still my conscious would visit me from time to time and remind me that what I was doing was wrong.


Wedding bands.
Family Portraits.
Movie lines.
Picture frames.

When I shared the story about Pinocchio with my students, I asked them to name a thing that serves as reminder of things that we should or shouldn't do. "What is one thing that reminds you of right from wrong?" They had several different responses, but one of them named the Bible as her reminder. She said that whenever she sees a Bible, she is reminded of doing what is right.

What greater reminder than that? It's like Jesus left this world with the promise to return. Yet, He left for us a reminder.

And why? Well, because we need reminders.

Like the necklace I am now wearing with the words pointing me to my destination. I am not of this world. And why must I be reminded? Because I so often forget. And in my forgetfulness, I become very well accustomed to the daily and earthly jive. I begin to focus on the mundane. Like who will win the Oscar's, and/or, who will wash the dishes tonight? Nothing wrong with those things. But when my focus weighs more on the "What shall I wear tomorrow?" rather than "How shall I live today?", I lose sight of my purpose here on earth.

You see, I'm only here but for a "moment", and my true and eternal home awaits. And so, how shall I live today and whom shall I love today means more than "what kind of car should I get?" So as you deal with the mundane... the kids need shoes, the door needs a new hinge, the cat is sick, the boss is unfair, the weather is dreary, the car needs a tune-up, the in-law's are coming, the holidays, the driving, the music, the media, the routine... remember that you are not of this world. And all of those things and more will pass--will not last-- and your eternal home awaits.
So dust off the picture frames, readjust your wedding band, listen to that old song, find your Bible... and be reminded.

John 17:14b..."for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by[d] the truth; your word is truth"

We're not of this world. Need I remind you?

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