I’ve heard many times, and certainly agree, that the most important things in life aren’t “things,” and I’m increasingly appreciating that the most important things truly cannot be bought or sold:
Joy – the unspeakable kind that fills your chest and warms you as you breathe in the crisp morning air, the kind that affords you a genuine smile no matter how bleakly the odds are stacked against you
Peace – and peace of mind, the indescribable kind the world didn’t give and cannot take away, the kind that centers and grounds you internally, allowing you to exude a gentle, quiet spirit, even in the midst of circumstantial chaos
Love – the unashamed, undeserved, unfathomable kind that stems from a genuine acceptance of self and others right where they are, that isn’t diminished by external actions, that pursues the heart of God and others with reckless abandon
Purpose – the undeniable kind that reminds you how precious, yet fleeting, time is, that satisfies your soul’s deepest desires yet leaves you longing to fulfill more, to give more, to be more
Grace – inexhaustible, all-encompassing, messy grace, the kind that covers all your wrongs and all who’ve wronged you, the kind that levels the ground at the foot of the cross, the kind that gives beauty for ashes, no matter how badly you’ve been burned
These are some of the things I’ve found to be most important in life and about myself. In his book, The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer boils this list down to one, single thing. He says, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” I’ll concede his point – it’s not just that we have the “things” above, but our thoughts about them and the God who created us with a capacity to experience them. The most important thing, then, isn’t any one of the intangible “things” above, either. Rather, the most important “thing” is the response of our finite hearts when encountering the infinite heart of God.
Just as the unchanging heat of the sun can both melt wax and harden clay, I often wonder why God’s steadfast love seems to soften some hearts while toughening others. I don’t have an answer for you, but I do believe the most important thing affecting the course of our lives can be gleaned by examining the position of our heart in response to the character of our God. Take a moment, now, to consider it, for I believe it’s the defining foundation for every other “thing” you’ll ever desire or ever do.
“We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God.” ~A.W. Tozer