Who Is The Practical Man??


Word Magazine 
February 1967  Page 12

 

  

 

WHO
IS THE PRACTICAL 

 

MAN??

 

  

 

“Lay
not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt and
where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in
Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt. and where thieves do not break
through and steal,” (MATTHEW 6:19-20).

 

 

  

A man
said to me recently. “I don’t take much interest in the church or in
religion. It’s all too intangible and indefinite. I want something solid that
I can see and feel and use like my Cadillac, my home, my country club and my
investments. I can sell the latter anytime I choose and the money is very real
and useful. These are the things that interest me. You see, I am a practical man
and haven’t much use for religion.”

 

Before
the scientists exploded the first atom bomb at the proving ground in New Mexico,
they made exhaustive experiments to make sure that they were not touching off a
chain reaction that might possibly destroy all the atoms in the world and put an
end to the existence of everything.  

 

It
appears that tangible, material things are not so permanent and indestructible
after all. Man might destroy his world at any time. What then would be the
practical value of the cars, homes, country clubs and investments?

 

It may
well be that the really permanent things in this universe are the spiritual
values of beauty, goodness, truthfulness, kindness, generosity and love. These
are the building blocks for the house not made with hands eternal in the heavens
of which Paul spoke so eloquently. That is why Paul admonished us:

 

“Whatsoever
things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, 
whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever
things are of good report if there be any virtue and if there be any praise,
think on these things.” (PHIL. 4:8).

 

These are
the permanent elements of God’s world and He continually invites us to
center our affections in and build our lives around them.

 

It is
difficult to think of beauty in the abstract. He gives us the rose, the sunset,
the mountains, the rainbow, great masterpieces of art and music and many
beautiful things to attract our attention and point to Him.

 

We cannot
imagine love in the abstract but we can see it and feel it in our close family
relationships. Generosity, kindness and truthfulness are hardly imaginable other
than as human actions.

 

Because
these qualities require personality to make them clear to us, God sent his Son,
Jesus Christ, into the world to give us a supreme, personal manifestation of
them. Looking at His life and feeling the power of it, we have no difficulty in
identifying and appreciating them. When we see them in Him, we have no doubt
that they are the most real and permanent entities in all of God’s creation.

 

By
contrast, property and material things seem fleeting and of little value. I
would not underestimate them for they are useful and necessary but in the long,
eternal view, they are not the building blocks with which we develop our sonship
to God. They are not the qualities that caused our Creator to say that we are
created in His own image.

 

Christ
was the embodiment of eternal, spiritual values that will rule and reign after
the earth shall pass away and the heavens be rolled up as a scroll.

 

We can
appreciate this contrast the more, I think, if we will try to imagine a
personality coming into the world who represented purely physical values as
distinguished from Christ who was the embodiment of spiritual values. Such a
person would be interested only in food, drink, sex, luxurious living, power and
pomp. All these perish with the using and when one’s physical powers decline,
leave nothing but ashes and regrets. If one is without spiritual qualities and
values, he knows that as his powers decline with every passing year, his
appetites grow weaker and the thrills which he enjoys, less frequent and less
satisfying. By middle age, at the latest, he foresees a bitter end of weakening
powers and the gradual decline to uselessness and nothingness. He soon begins to
realize that those who sow to the flesh, reap nothing but extinction.

 

What
satisfaction is there in a life like that? On the other hand, one who devotes
his time to the accumulation of treasures in Heaven may look forward to
everlasting growth and the enjoyment of satisfaction beyond his present powers
to imagine.

 

“Eye
hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the
things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” (I COR. 2:9).

 

Who then
is the practical man? The one who gives his life to fleeting material values,
sensations that will endure for a few years at most leaving him nothing but the
ashes of a burned out and useless life? Or one who sets his heart upon spiritual
values which continue to grow as the eternal purpose of God, in which he shares,
rolls on and on forever?

 

 

 

 


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