Monday, July 21, 2014

The Hermit Monk and the Tourist

The world is coming unhinged and it's happening with breakneck speed. 

I would assert that one would have to be a deaf, dumb, and blind hermit monk cloistered on some mountain top in the Himalayas, far too remote and secluded for even the most foolishly determined seeker of the meaning of life to discover, to not sense the turmoil and conflict that is raging around this globe.

Today's technology is such that, within mere minutes, we are receiving news that used to take days, or more, to reach us.  Cell phone cameras, computers, and the internet have given mankind the ability to convey around the world up-to-the-minute events, catastrophes, disasters, or just plane nonsense for all eyes to see.  And once this information hits the social media and bloggers' websites, sometimes long before the news agencies pick it up or deem it legitimate, we become inundated with a information overload that makes our heads spin and our minds reel.

But let us reexamine our deaf, dumb, and blind hermit monk, though, and his determination to not allow the world to disrupt his peaceful contemplation.  Unfortunately, that is how the majority of humankind behaves, especially in westernized nations that enjoy a degree of prosperity and peace and, more particularly, in America.

I live in a tourist trap.  What used to be a beautiful mountain valley where ranching, logging, and mining fed its hardworking residents, is now adorned with the allurement of recreation, entertainment, frivolity, and foolishness.  Most of the locals who have lived here for decades dread the end of the school year.  The highway that leads to our home becomes clogged with so much traffic during the summer that the highway department has to station traffic controllers at certain portions along the 100 mile route, in order that the bumper-to-bumper automobiles pulling RV's and trailers loaded down with all their toys will maintain at least a crawl, and so that those who have to divert off the main road are afforded that luxury.  Needless to say, the locals with any sense strategically plan their shopping and errands beforehand, then park their car and hide out at home while the tourists do as much possible damage to our valley and themselves as they are capable during their visit.  Woe to any of us who have to be out on the road.

You may be wondering why I have used two very distinctly different analogies .  But I have a purpose for doing so.  Let me explain.

The hermit monk and the tourists who invade us most of the year have something in common.  Something that's not recognized, but is really inherent in each.  The monk hides his head in a monastery to escape the outside world.  The tourist rushes into the outside world and hides his head in recreation to escape the doldrums and hubbub of his life.  But both have a selfish motive.  They are attempting to hide from the reality of the Creator's purpose in sustaining this universe for as long as He has done so.  God created the earth and all that is in it for us to enjoy, but His design was not planned long before time began so that man could find a false sense of meaning for why he exists, or peace, prosperity, and entertainment while he dwelt upon this earth.  His intention in creating man was so that man could glorify Him in all the things man does.  Instead, man seeks after his own glory and relegates God Almighty to second place, putting his pleasures and desires over and above his true purpose for his existence.

I often wonder about the tourists that come here.  The money they may or may not have, but is being spent on such brief exercises of recreation.  How many professing Christians are in the mix, and the attitudes that are seen and felt by Christians living here, instead of what we would expect if they were.  If, while briefly away from what they consider their "normal" life, they pause in thanksgiving for what they are able to do.  But what has really struck me, of late, is whether or not they truly realize and acknowledge the signs we are being given that point to the imminent return of our LORD Jesus Christ.  The turmoil in the Middle East and northern Africa.  The sinfulness that has permeated our beloved nation, America, and the threats to its sovereignty and its inevitable fall.  The building of the federation of Gog and Magog.  The unsettled weather and the disasters it is bringing.  The growing persecution of Christians.  And much, much more occurring every day.

All that was foretold nearly 2600 years ago reveals that the world is, indeed, coming unhinged (Dan 12:1-13; Matt 24:1-51).  I believe we are living in that age God has decreed, and time is very short.

The hearts and minds of both the hermit monk and the thoughtless tourist need to be opened to receive God's truths before our LORD Jesus Christ returns to remove His church (1Thes 4:13-18), and the enemy is given a brief seven year reign upon this earth before Jesus comes back to destroy His enemies and restore His kingdom (Rev 12:12; Rev 11:15).  Their eternal destination depends upon it, for the monk's monastery will crumble around him and the mountain upon which it is perched will topple; and the tourist's castle he built upon the sand of the lake shore will wash away from beneath his feet.

Are you a hermit, or are you a tourist?  It's imperative that you examine yourself, in the light of Scripture, to determine which you are.  Both are sinners who have built their lives upon self.  Both are attempting to hide from the reality of a Holy God who will bring utter destruction and death when He pours out His wrath.  Both are in need of the Savior who died so that we may live forever with Him.  Both have an eternal destination that has been determined for them.  And both need to understand that Jesus is returning at an hour none of us have the ability to expect, but He is coming soon.

To my Christian brothers and sisters,  “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks.   Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.   If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants!   But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into.   You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”  (Luke 12:35-40)

But for my hermit monk, I encourage you to come down from your mountain and seek after the true meaning of Life eternal (John 17:3).   And for my tourist friend, I encourage you to examine the treasures you have amassed and where you are storing them (Matt 6:19-21).

Our Savior Jesus Christ gently calls to you both, "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”  (Matt 11:28-30)


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