Christian Living Part IV



More from my dear friend Dr. Ken Chant….



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It is difficult to be kind to the folly of people whose boundaries never extend beyond the present hour, who build treasures on earth, but remain poor in heaven! Have they never read about the only riches that cannot turn to dust, those that are found in the kingdom of God? Have they never heard the Spirit whisper in their souls, “Set your affections on things above, not on those below.” (Cl 3:1-3). Are they so dull of eye and heavy of ear that the sight of heaven’s beauty and the sound of heaven’s melody must always elude them? Have they never learned the fine art of “seeing the invisible”? (1 Co 4:18). Why do they treat the visible world as if it is indestructible, when it is actually as transient as a cloud, as ephemeral as a leaf, destined to be rolled up and thrown away like an old rag? (He 1:10-12).


Is your outer nature wearing away? It can become inwardly renewed! Do your troubles seem many and burdensome? They can become light and insignificant! But only when you have captured the feel of what God is preparing for his church: “an eternal weight of immeasurable glory.” To see that lustrous vision, to sense the weight of that grandeur, says Paul, causes everything in this world to shrink almost to nothing! (1 Co 4:16-18; Ro 8:18). So if you have lost heart, this is the way to regain your zest!

Robert Browning, in his poem Cleon, describes a sorrowful king, Protus, who voices two laments: he complains that when he is dead nothing of his sovereign glory will remain; and he thinks it is unfair that his friend, a poet and artist named Cleon, will live on in his deathless art. Let me take up the story at the point where Cleon the poet is addressing King Protus –

Thou askest if (my soul in men’s hearts)

I must not be accounted to attain

The very crown and proper end of life.

Enquiring thence how, now life closeth up,

I face death with success in my right hand:

Whether I fear death less than dost thyself

The fortunate of men. “For” (writest thou)

“Thou leavest much behind, while I leave nought:

Thy life stays in the poems men shall sing,

The pictures men shall study; while my life,

Complete and whole now in its power and joy,

Dies altogether with my brain and arm,

Is lost indeed; since, – what survives myself?

The brazen statue that o’erlooks my grave,

Set on the promontory which I named.

And that – some supple courtier of my heir

Shall use its robed and sceptred arm, perhaps,

To fix the rope to, which best drags it down . . .”

King Protus could hope to leave nothing more of himself than a statue, which he well knew some later monarch would pull down and replace with his own effigy. He had discovered too late a lesson we must all learn: the only lasting edifice is one built by “fixing our souls in men’s hearts”. There is no better “crown and proper end of life” than this: to write your name in the character other people, giving them a new song to sing, a new beauty to live by, a new hope to die for. So the king, who had once thought himself “the most fortunate of men”, now realised that he was unfortunate; while the poet, whom the king had once deemed nothing, was now seen to have gained an undying renown.

By the grace of God, we Christians can achieve that goal better than any poet or artist. Can we not impart to those around us the love of Christ and the joy of heaven? And having done that, our life on earth gains undying value, and our eternal renown is secure!

Blessings from Dr. Ken until next time.

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