Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Last Great Change Of All

From a Puritan prayer:

Do thou be with me, and prepare me for all the smiles of prosperity, the frowns of adversity, the losses of substance, the death of friends, the days of darkness, the changes of life, and the last great change of all.
My I find thy grace sufficient for all my needs.

The contemplated last great change of all helps to put both prosperity and loss in perspective – neither is permanent, neither is of lasting value in and of itself. Their value is found only as we allow our heavenly Father and Lord Jesus to use them to mold us into their image and draw us into the koinonia of the holy Trinity.

We make too much of prosperity and loss. Yes, easier said than done, easier written than practiced; but Paul writes that he knows how to be abased and how to abound – there is something worked within us as Christ transcends loss and prosperity.

James writes, “…the brother in humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation…” Yes, I think we make too much of prosperity and losses of substance, we forget that we are in the foyer.

Why do we measure ourselves and others by what we have or don’t have? Why do we have poster children of prosperity in the church but no poster children of humble circumstances? Why no books and biographies of men and women of humble circumstances? (Other than those we don’t consider normative, such as Mother Theresa.)

I think I’d like to see a football coach speak at a Promise Keepers type gathering who has a last-place team. I would be interested in hearing as a guest speaker a man who has been a faithful janitor for 40 years. Maybe these folks would be a means of deliverance for me – maybe they would give me courage to say “no” to a culture of appearances and success.

Well… one of many things I look forward to when that last great change of all comes is my deliverance from pride, vanity, materialism, and participation in a culture of appearance. Until then I will try to learn to trust in His grace to preserve me from my foolishness.

Are you looking forward to that last great change of all?

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