One of the benefits of living out in a rural area is that when I’m driving around, I have plenty of time to listen to podcasts and music. I prefer listening to podcasts, but when my wife Gail is driving around, she prefers to listen to the Christian radio station K-Love (91.7 FM, 105.3 FM). So, if I want to know about the most recent developments in Christian music, I have to ask her. This afternoon Gail brought me lunch and I took the time to visit the K-love website and look at some of the top songs for this week. Gail talked about some of her favorite songs on the list, and I decided to review them to see what jumped out at me. And I have to say the song that I appreciated the most was the number four song on the list, “Only Jesus” by the group Casting Crowns.
I believe this song captures much of what Jesus was trying to say when he encouraged his disciples to disregard the values in the worries of the world and keep their eyes on the prize, life with God, and life in the kingdom of God:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ” Matthew 6:19-21
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
This song also reminded me of two things that have helped shape my understanding of faith and life. The first was a tombstone I saw at a little country Cemetery, not far from the first church I served in West Burlington, Iowa, which said:
Meet me in heaven
I dearly look forward to meeting this Brown person someday and tell him or her how much I appreciated the fact that they used the valuable space on their tombstone to remind me where my life is headed, by the grace of God. The other thing that came to mind as I listened to this song was the famous charge to missionaries given by the founder of the Moravian church, Count von Zinzendorf:
Preach Christ, die, and be forgotten!
I’ve always thought that this was a powerful antidote for anyone, but especially for pastors, who would be tempted to seek glory, and a worldly legacy, beyond the simple privilege of preaching Christ, and him crucified.
Anyway, I do hope that you will listen to this song and ponder the ways it might be calling you to embrace the joyful way of life described by the preacher of the book of Hebrews:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2