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August 31, 2023

A Devotional

By dr. Marcus buckley

 

Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” – 1 Peter 1:23-25 

“The grass is always greener on the other side.” It has been said that cliches which linger in our vocabulary do so because they have a strong element of truth, and the endurance of this statement is good evidence. How many times have we been enticed to wander off to pastures a deeper shade of emerald, only to find that they are filled with problems not readily visible from a distance?

grass

I spent over half of my life living in Florida. As a child I watched my father work diligently to keep our lawn of St. Augustine grass lush and beautiful. He faithfully mowed, trimmed, and edged the yard each week nearly year-round in the tropical continuum of the Sunshine State. He replaced sprinkler heads on the irrigation system and fertilized the green ½ acre faithfully. He checked with the experts on how to get the best results with that species of grass and followed their advice without fail.

And yet, there would still be dead grass.


It would start small, but sooner or later there would be an issue in the jade carpet in front of our house. Insects, disease, lack of water, too much water—there was always something that ruined the perfect landscape. As the years went by, he taught me what needed to be done to fight the good fight, but he also showed me the most important thing: no matter how hard you try, grass will inevitably wither and die.


The very best that this world offers, the high aspirations that this life holds, the great discoveries and wisdom of man, are all compromised by their temporal state. How much of our lives do we spend pursuing things that, despite our best efforts, are going to die? How much of our time do we spend in vain, empty pursuits that promise much but deliver little? What expanses of wealth are dispersed pursuing trinkets that break, rust, and disappoint? What great intellectual pursuits end in ruin and carnage? We give our very lives to pursuits that are at best futile, and at worst vile.


The Word of God offers something markedly different, something infinitely better. Not only are the Scriptures sharp and effective, they are alive—birthed into existence from the very breath of the God of creation. The Holy Spirit who inspired the human authors of Scripture is the same Spirit who is faithful to instruct us in the understanding of the Word. And while the mind of man and the wonders of the world shift, fade, and wither, the Word of God stands firm. “Heaven and earth will pass away,” Jesus said, “but my words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).


This, dear Christian, is why we must find our full and complete satisfaction not in the pursuits of vanity—driven by our own tastes, whims, and desires—but in the power of vitality that comes only from walking with Christ Jesus. Our salvation is not earned and therefore cannot be taken away. Our joy is not circumstantial so it need not flee. Our hope is not in a greener pasture, but in a greater Pastor—the Great Shepherd who leads us to the fields of provision by the truth and power of His Word. 

Father, thank You for giving us something in Christ so much greater than anything we can find in this life. Give us the wisdom not to be deceived by the vanity of pursuing that which will not satisfy and cannot last. Thank You that the ultimate fulfillment of our purpose is not in empty pursuits, but in total surrender and joyful service for the One whose Word stands forever. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.

 

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Dr. Marcus Buckley serves Christian Union at Cornell University, as the ministry director of Christian Union Vita.