Have you ever wondered why you were here on earth? I have. One church that I attended in my youth taught the children out of the Westminster Catechism. A fine document to be sure, but its answer to that question was “The chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” I was in high school at the time, and certainly understood what was being said on an intellectual level, but I was still uncertain on the details. That didn’t really tell me WHY I was here. Was I supposed to be a butcher, baker or a candle-stick maker? Was I supposed to be the next Jackson Pollock (ok, cool) or the next Vincent Van Gogh (err, wait a minute now)?
I do know one thing, I am here for a purpose. The reason I know, is that I am literally still here.
I have been stabbed, as well as fallen about 10 feet and cracked my head on concrete, just to name a few times I have miraculously escaped demise. All are slightly interesting, but let me tell you about the time I almost died in my sleep. When I was ten years old, my family lived in a nice house in Lawton, Oklahoma. It had three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a floor furnace. This floor furnace will be the villain in our story. The floor furnace, being true to its nature, was installed in the floor, between our dining room and the living room. The exhaust pipe ran under the house and passed underneath the bathroom, which was right next to my bedroom.
I don’t remember a lot of details, but I do know that one morning, after things had gotten cold and we had turned on the floor heater, I woke up and ran into my parent’s room to throw up. Ah, the joys of being a parent. I don’t particularly remember this vomitus episode, but my mother assures me it happened. I do remember having a headache. My Dad was able to intuit that something was pretty wrong about this, and we evacuated the house.
It turns out that the exhaust vent that went from the floor furnace to the exterior of the house, didn’t. It seems it was a foot or so short of actually connecting to the vent that was installed in the side of the house. The underside of the house was full of hot natural gas exhaust. My room was almost directly over where the gas had actually been pouring underneath the floor. My Dad discovered that there was a hole in the ceiling of my closet and it opened up into the attic. When my Dad went to look into the attic to see how things were up there, he was hit in the face with a big wave of deadly exhaust.
If there had not been a hole in my closet ceiling, I would most likely be dead, and it was very possible the rest of my family would have been as well. God was watching over me and my entire family.
Thinking about this can usually bring me back around to the age old question I initially asked. Why are we here on earth? The old catechism gets it mostly right. I think Jesus says it better, though.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
I think I can believe that to be an authentic statement of what God wants us to do here on earth. So what do we do with that bit of knowledge? Study it, read about it and talk amongst our friends about it. Right?
Sure, you can do all that. Jesus was also pretty clear that if you believe in him, you should be like a fruit bearing vine. In case you are unaware, a fruit bearing vine actually grows new and delicious fruit. It also does it regularly. I think it can be clearly stated that if you are all talk, and don’t back your mouth up with action, then you are not doing what you were put here on earth to do.
There are lots of different ways that you can show your love to others. Help the poor. Help the homeless. Help your next door neighbor. Help your parents. Maybe, just maybe, you don’t hate that guy that just cut you off on 1604. Next time, try praying for them. Maybe they are in the midst of the worst day of their life. Let only blessings come out of you.
I am not condemning you. I have done many of the same things. I have let that driver know exactly what I was thinking, and I have also gone out of my way to avoid helping someone. Part of the journey to understand why I am here, has resulted in me having a greater heart to help other people. And you know what? I love you guys. Let’s go show the world the love of God.
Published by Jonathan Bernard