“I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” (John 17:14–19, NIV 1984).
My Musings – It is easy to understand why Jesus would say He was not of this world. He created it. He left the glory of Heaven to dwell amongst His creation for a time, but it was not His Home. We, on the other hand, have known nothing other than this world. On our own, there is no where else we can make our home. Strangely enough, when we place our faith in Jesus Christ, we become aliens to the only home we have ever known. Now, home is where He is. Where He is not, no longer is our home.
Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us, so that where He is, there we may be also. But as long as we draw breath, that place is not yet fully prepared for us. Not ready for our homecoming. In the meantime, He sends us out into the world, just like His Father sent Him. Once His work was finished, He returned home. Once our work is finished, whatever it is that He has specifically sent us to do for Him, we will be called home too. So until that specific thing is done, we go about with the general commission He gave all His children. To go out into the world and make disciples.
My Advice – Our task may be big or small. But even if it is small, if done faithfully, it will be no less important to Him than the big task He might give others. And it will receive the same commendation — “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21, NIV 1984). Sometimes, even the smallest of tasks, if left undone, can have the largest of consequences. It may seem like a small thing to you, but be faithful.
Keeper of the Spring
The late Peter Marshall, an eloquent speaker and for several years the chaplain of the United States Senate, used to love to tell the story of “The Keeper of the Spring,” a quiet forest dweller who lived high above an Austrian village along the eastern slopes of the Alps.
The old gentleman had been hired many years ago by a young town council to clear away the debris from the pools of water up in the mountain crevices that fed the lovely spring flowing through their town. With faithful, silent regularity, he patrolled the hills, removed the leaves and branches, and wiped away the silt that would otherwise choke and contaminate the fresh flow of water.
By and by, the village became a popular attraction for vacationers. Graceful swans floated along the crystal clear spring, the mill wheels of various businesses located near the water turned day and night, farmlands were naturally irrigated, making the view from restaurants picturesque beyond description.
Years passed. One evening, the town council met for its semi-annual meeting. As they reviewed the budget, one man’s eye caught the salary figure being paid to the obscure keeper of the spring. Said the keeper of the purse, “Who is the old man? Why do we keep him on year after year? No one ever sees him. For all we know, the strange ranger of the hills is doing us no good. He isn’t necessary any longer!” By a unanimous vote, they dispensed with the old man’s services.
For several weeks, nothing changed. By early autumn, the trees began to shed their leaves. Small branches snapped off and fell into the pools, hindering the rushing flow of sparkling water. One afternoon, someone noticed a slight yellowish-brown tint in the spring. A couple days later, that water was much darker. Within another week, a slimy film covered sections of the water along the banks and a foul odor was soon detected. The mill wheels moved more slowly, some finally ground to a halt. Swans left, as did the tourists. Clammy fingers of disease and sickness reached deeply into the village.
Quickly, the embarrassed council called a special meeting. Realizing their gross error in judgment, they hired back the old keeper of the spring, and within a few weeks, the veritable river of life began to clear up. The wheels started to turn, and new life returned to the hamlet in the Alps once again. — Charles R. Swindoll