So began an irreverent song in the 60’s, but as I walked back down the hill toward my house in the foothills today, a thought I’d had earlier in the week driving home struck me again. What are the conversations going on in the minds of the people in these custom and semi-custom houses? In reality, all they are is boxes.
Unvoiced perhaps, but perhaps subconsciously thought, going up from these boxes: “ My box is bigger than your box… My box sits higher up the hill than your box…. I’m glad my box isn’t down there below the river …My box is full of more stuff, fancier stuff than your box… My box makes me important… My box tells the world who I am and why I’m important…” and perhaps some voices down below the river: “I wish I had a bigger box up on the hillside … I deserve a better box than this … .” Surely, and true, many people may be grateful for the boxes they have, that they have a box lid over their heads, that they have a place to sit and eat and sleep.
Yet up here on the hillside (and even down below the river) nobody asks who the real lien holder on the land is, who holds your hill in his hands, who created the minerals in that mine far in the background, who can call in the loan at any time.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.
I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
Job 41:11 Who has first given to Me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heavens is Mine.
“You alone are the LORD. You have made the heavens, The heaven of heavens with all their host, The earth and all that is on it, The seas and all that is in them. You give life to all of them And the heavenly host bows down before You.
Haggai 2:8 —
” ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”
Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 — “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God in your body.“
Colossians 1: 15-17 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.…
Walking down this hill that my mind and hand could never make, that no land developer or geologist or architect or construction engineer could ever create from pre-existing molecules,let alone from nothing. I bow in holy awe of the One who spoke, “Let there be earth,” shaped these hills, spun the earth to create day and night, gave me cells and DNA and breath and life, because without His Spirit and breath, I’m the same as the sand beneath my shoes.
“Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades! Never-ending, Your glory goes beyond all things! And the cry of my heart is to give you praise – from the inside out, Lord, my soul cries out to you… consume me from the inside out.” Be all you are in me,and how totally implausible is that for me to ask of God Almighty? I have no right to ask that, EXCEPT that through Jesus I am adopted into God’s family,called his own, filled with his Spirit, loved, no matter what size or shape box i live in, how it is filled, how empty it may be, or who shares it with me.
And when I stand before Jesus, I wonder, will he ask me how big my box was, how much I had in it, how high on the hill it sat? Or will he ask me what I did with the time and the life and resources I had, all that He gave me, while I was here? Will He ask,”Who did you love? How did you love? To whom did you reach out? To whom did you give a ride to their job? To whom did you give a loaf of bread? Whose child did you clothe? Who did you comfort in their grief? Who did you share me and my love with?”
“‘When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’”
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:38-40 NIV
Jesus speaks a sobering word as I sit in my box and look out at the boxes around me down the hill:
Matthew 25:15-29English Standard Version (ESV)
To one he gave five talents,to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
I hope, I pray, I have answers for those questions that will gladden the heart of God.
Lord God, I am eternally grateful for a roof over my head, a place to sleep, food to eat,clothing to wear, family and friends to love, and, improbably, for my very life, a gift from you. Help me to manage all that you give me with love and faithfulness, out of love for who you are and all you’ve already given: the priceless blood of your son Jesus as a ransom for my life and soul, my righteousness, my life forever with you in your house.
Coming home into my box, I fall on my face on the floor in reverent awe of the Holy One who created, differentiated, gave life to, and sustains it all and us all.
A”…BUT…” to pray: God Almighty, I may not have much in the sense of possessions, or I may have more than enough, BUT no matter what I have or lack, I have YOU as my Creator, Sustainer, Provider, Provision, Father, Savior, Loving Lord,and that give me value no one can take from me. You say I am yours, and that alone makes me ___________________________________________________________________ and I thank you for your Spirit within me! Holy Spirit, I’m listening, and who can stop the Lord Almighty?