Whittled Down to our Essence
by Tom Goodman
November 14, 2012
Ben Patterson writes in The Grand Essentials:
I have a theory about old age.... I believe that when life has whittled us down, when joints have failed and skin has wrinkled and capillaries have clogged and hardened, what is left of us will be what we were all along, in our essence.
Exhibit A is a distant uncle.... All his life he did nothing but find new ways to get rich.... He spent his senescence very comfortably, drooling and babbling constantly about the money he had made.... When life whittled him down to his
essence, all there was left was raw greed. That is what he had cultivated in a thousand little ways over a lifetime.
Exhibit B is my wife's grandmother.... When she died in her mid-eighties, she had already been senile for several years. What did this lady talk about? The best example I can think of was when we asked her to pray before dinner.
She would reach out and hold the hands of those sitting beside her, a beatific smile would spread across her face, her dim eyes would fill with tears as she looked up to heaven, and her chin would quaver as she poured out her love to Jesus.
That was Edna in a nutshell. She loved Jesus and she loved people. She couldn't remember our names, but she couldn't keep her hands from patting us lovingly whenever we got near her.
When we get old and life whittles us down to our essence, what will be revealed? In the last of God's 10 Commandments, we're told, "You shall not covet." At our essence we should not resent the life another person lives.
It's interesting that the other nine laws are like a photograph of the outward life, but the Tenth Commandment is like an x-ray of the inward life where we find our longings, inclinations, sighs, and cravings.
Before life whittles you down to your essence, make sure you'll be comfortable with what people will see. Join us this Sunday @ 10 for our study of the last of God's Perfect 10.
Discover Hillcrest. Following the service and small-group study, we're holding a lunch for all who want to learn more about our church. We'll gather in the gym at the kitchen serving counter at 12:15pm. Our children's minister and youth
minister will host your kids while I lead the adult class. We'll be done before 2:00pm.
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