El McMeen looks at whether we've got our priorities right

El McMeen
El McMeen

Last month, readers indulged me as I made a somewhat odd connection among anthills, God, and the wonderful story of Mary and Martha in the Bible - Luke 10:38-42. In that story, Jesus shows marvelous compassion and perspective regarding our tendency to let life's distractions obscure our perception of "the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6).

In my last column, I noted that ants in an anthill seem totally oblivious to anything but their respective tasks. Some of their tasks are impressive, to be sure: queenly procreation, and Samson-like strength on the part of the little beasts of burden who carry around objects larger than themselves. I am by no means "dissing" our antly brethren. Like us often, however, they allow their tasks to blind them to higher powers.

I want to expand on this. They (and we) often let our tasks get in the way of our appreciation of abundance. The ants and we are aware of "supply", to be sure - that is, the availability of things. But knowing about supply and appreciating the glory of abundance are quite different things!

Think of nature. How quick we are sometimes to praise "mother nature" for beauty, and yet how slow we are to praise "Father God" for his magnificent artistry. If the French impressionists were artists, well, what about God!

Item: why is there so little blue in nature on the earth? The evidence of that scarcity is the great joy we feel when beholding a blue bird, right? Could it be because God gave us a blue sky of ravishing beauty?

Item: why do the leaves of certain trees turn into splendiferous colors in the Fall? Biologists would point to photosynthesis-but that only tells HOW, not WHY? Could the reason be that we get one amazing burst of God's glory before winter? And why is snow white; why isn't it just clear? Could it be that there is beauty in a blanket of snow, whereas a clear covering would only reveal a brown earth and flora in the process of regeneration? And on and on.

I would like to add some personal testimony to this, if I might. I have recorded 11 guitar CD's, with my most recent being "Amazing Grace" early this year. This is the first year in the period that I've been recording that the CD wasn't the most important endeavor of the year for me. To be sure, this CD is very dear to me. I felt a calling beyond any other CD of mine to do my best musically to glorify God by my efforts. This CD was part of the abundance for me in 2006, but not the only part.

At the beginning of this year, I felt a great pouring out to me from God of insights on Scripture and my own faith journey. I asked Him for outlets, if He felt me worthy to address these matters publicly.

What resulted were outlets beyond my wildest expectations. My CD led to an interview with Christian Music Monthly that provided a great opportunity to articulate my thoughts about Jesus and faith.

After that interview was published, a deep-thinking, but skeptical, friend proceeded to engage me in a furious interchange about the veracity of the Gospels, the Christian message, and everything related. This dialogue led to an article based on the exchange we had of lengthy e-mails. That article, entitled the "Passion Dialogues," is here:

After that, I found myself preaching and teaching as a lay minister in a local nursing home, and now am teaching in a group setting at a nearby residential facility where both the Holy Spirit and people with needs reside! And recently I have been learning about the world of people with special spiritual gifts in the healing ministry.

My wife Sheila has also been pursuing numerous and deep study and outreach endeavors on her own. What a ride!

I share all this in the spirit of the upcoming Christmas season, where we experience the joy of the birth of Jesus, and the abundance of life based on Him.

"[Jesus] answered and said unto them...it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance"... Matthew 13:11-12.

My best to readers in this Christmas season, for great abundance in your own lives. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.