Friday, February 01, 2013
I remember as a boy in primary school the first time I heard the nursery rhyme ‘As I was going to St Ives’.
As I was going to St Ives
I met a man with seven wives
Every wife had seven sacks
Every sack had seven cats
Every cat had seven kits
Kits, cats, sacks, wives.
How many were going to St Ives
The tale is of a man travelling to St Ives and the various people he meets on the way. The list gets longer, some of the older versions of the rhyme have many more lines but all end with the question, ‘How many are going to St Ives?’
I remember the class debating it for ages and our teacher, Miss Morgan, patiently waiting for the penny to drop. Of course, only ‘I was going to St Ives’!
What made the debate so long? Why does such a simple rhyme easily fool us into adding all of the characters up and giving the wrong number? The answer is we are so interested with the interaction with people and events we forget the destination.
It is the same in life. We want to digest the moments and forget the final place we are heading to. Some will tell us to live for the moment. Others have a philosophy live for the now you’re a long time dead.
The Bible brings another perspective, an eternal one. We are born to live forever if we accept the gift of salvation God is offering in Jesus. God loves us so much He wants us to be with Him forever.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life
As Christians we are aware that we have a final destination. I am reminded of the story the Evangelist Arthur Blessitt tells. He fell asleep on a plane and after the plane landed the stewardess approached him, gently woke him and asked, ‘what is your final destination sir?’ His immediate reaction in his drowsy state was to answer, ‘heaven’. Heaven was so much a part of him that it was in his subconscious.
The apostle Paul writes in Philippians 3:14
I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus
There is a heavenly prize, an upward call. In Christ when we are born again we become eternal. Not our body which is corruptible but our spirits. We are called to live with an eternal purpose, eternal calling, and eternal destination in mind.
The gate that leads to life is narrow. It is easy to miss those doors along our path that lead to abundant living. We need a pressing on mentality with a determined purpose to fulfil the will of God for our lives.