Walnuts

Benjamin was born with his eyes open.

Big, dark, walnut eyes, full of mischief and curiosity. Easily the only thing I passed onto him.

It stunned the nurses and took us back a bit too. His eyes quietly searched the room, an immediate first step upon entering the world. He didn’t cry. He just looked around, like he was taking it all in. Or playfully planning an escape.

It felt like an eternity, him not crying. Finally Hannah asked the doctor,

“Is he okay?”

“Oh yes, dear. He’s fine. But I’ve never seen a newborn look around like that. His eyes don’t work yet, so he isn’t seeing anything. And we don’t know why he isn’t crying, but he will. Looks like you’re gonna have your hands full though.”

All the nurses watched in awe too.

“Look at him looking around,” they’d whisper to each other. “Isn’t that the funniest thing…”

His hair was red and curly and his skin was light. Nearly every remark was about how much he favored his mother (lucky boy). But then, those eyes… those were mine. There was no mistaking that.

I woke up this morning thinking about King David. And how God called him a man after His own heart. Despite all of his ups, his downs, his victories, failures, shortcomings, weaknesses, and strengths, his legacy was “A man after God’s own heart.”

How would you like that on your tombstone?

And it’s not like David gave himself that nickname.

How would you like to know that God in heaven looked down and mentioned you to the angels gathered around Him, “See that one there? He’s mine. And I know you see all those things that DON’T look like Me, but come here. Look. See his heart? Whose heart does that look like? That boy’s got My heart.”

I’d love for that to be my legacy.

And I think for it to become my legacy, it implies focusing on just one thing- Dad.

Not how do I become the best father I can be, or how do I become the best husband I can be, or how do I become the best student I can be, or how can I have the best student ministry in town, or build the best service, or maintain the best program.

I think it’s more just keeping our eyes on our dad. Each and every day. No matter what around us changes, keeping that laser-like focus locked on God. Come what may.

The authors of the Bible compare our lives this side of eternity to a race.

With them being the ones who are gathered around to watch.

Which is why the author of Hebrews says:

“Since we are surrounded by such a great crowd of witnesses…” (12:1).

He is describing everyone who has ever gone before. Who has lived on this canvas. Everyone who has managed to not fall for the illusion that this is reality, but instead has managed to cling to the idea that what we do on this side impacts the other side. For eternity.

“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus” (12:1-2).

All of our goals.

All of our interests.

All of our pursuits.

All of our responsibilities, accomplishments, desires, wants, successes, triumphs, five year plans, financial plans, career plans, family plans,

all our religious activity,

all of it,

boils down to just one thing –

Jesus.

That’s it. Nothing else matters.

So throw it off.

Want to not waste your life? Simplify.

If you run your race chasing all of those other things, you may get them. You may not. But we run in the direction of that which we desire the most.

Thomas Merton once said “You are made in the image of what you desire.”

I want to desire Jesus.

And thereby, become a man who is turned into his image. A man who is after his own heart.

No matter what else may change, though through the passage of time the outer man may be falling apart (2 Cor 4:16), that I still have those eyes –my Father’s eyes.

A million things about Benjamin have changed from 3 in the morning July 5th until now.

But he’s still got those eyes.

His Dad’s eyes.

I thank God for that.

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