The People of God
by Bishop Karl Pruter
Chapter XIV Peace of Mind
Several decades ago, Rabbi Liebmann wrote a book entitled Peace of Mind. Unintentionally he began a cult which enjoyed a great rage for over twenty years.
Americans had, at last, found a use for God. God was not some remote being in the heavens, but was the source of a most elusive quality of life, “Peace of Mind.”
After that, all kinds of people began to discover that it was practical to believe in God. In fact, we ever got one new sect that taught that if you really had faith, then your life would be blessed with health, wealth, and happiness. Those who failed to prosper, or whose joints ahce with ago, or rheumatism, obviously lacked faith. In short, people wanted to believe in God, because they felt it would pay off in the forms of all the good things of life.
Of all the forms of idolatry this is the most dangerous, since it is done in the Name of the One True God. Man never ceases creating gods in his own image, and hence it is difficult for us to decide Who is the True God and what can we expect from Him.
We can’t say “nothing,” because one cannot come in contact with God without being profoundly affected.
Besides, Christ did promise us two results of faith. First, that we would have the abundant life, and secondly, that we would have life eternal.
Unfortunately the abundant life is the one that has been so distorted by the modern creators of idols. What did Christ mean by the abundant life? He possessed it, and yet He was a man of great sorrows. He possessed it, and yet He met death on the cross in this thirties.
But to others He gave every blessing. He healed the sick, brought the dead to life; and the Christians, who in the first century were poor, the enslaved, the destitute, became the rules of the world.
The Christian is not one who receives great abundance, but gives great abundance.
A Christian does not spend his day counting his blessings, but in being a blessing to those about him. Wherever he goes lives are touched. He is the burden bearer of the world, and he sorrows for those who suffer, and yet the God that the Christian knows can heal, mend and restore.
Christ wept for Jerusalem because there were many who did not know God. This very act of caring brings sorrow to the hearts of all who love God and are concerned for his Children.
Those who would measure the Christian life in terms of the benefits they would received rather than the blessings they could bring to others fail to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are idolaters because they do not love God or worship Him, but only what they can get their hands on. Their god consists of the things they seek from the Almighty, and they refuse to believe in a God that offers a life of service, of sorrow, in which the faithful must regard himself as the burden bearer of the meanest soul on earth.
Even life eternal is a gift that the idolaters would scorn, since God, not man, is central in the Heavenly Kingdom.
For what is Heave but eternally dwelling in the presence of God! We shall dwell in the future life as we do here. Those who love God, and worship God, and for whom God is their friend and daily companion, life will go on as it is. For Jesus truly said, the kingdom of Heaven is among you.
But for those whose god is found among transient things, the future holds no more than it does for all things material. Surely moth and rust will corrupt the treasures which they so naively attribute to God.
They have those thins which God has created, and in acquiring them, they have missed the best part.
The true Christian seeks after God for his own sake. Because God loved him, gave him life and daily blesses him, the Christian seeks Him out to render thanks.
Here are some simple things that God does do for you.
First, He has given, nay, continues to give you life.
Second, He permits you to come into His presence. This is a great blessing for it allows us
1.to render thanks. How dreadful it would be to receive life and all these good things and to be able to offer nothing in return. We can, and we should give thanks daily.
2.We need to come into His presence to ask forgiveness. Mistakes come so easily, and to bear them without being able to unburden our souls would be a great weight. But we can come to God, confess our faults and receive His forgiveness.
3.We need to seek His guidance. It seems strange that so many find the world so difficult to live in and yet never once ask the creator of the world “How best to live in it.” God can guide our lives and help us choose our vocations, and at every crossroads help us to make the right decision.
Finally, who can come in the presence of God and not wish to sing His praises? Those who do not worship are truly in darkness, for the most elementary knowledge of God, the most fleeting glimpse, provokes in man the desire to sing praises to His Name.
In short, God does do many things for you because He loves you. I am sure you can not, and dare not, seek to use God. You must serve Him for the same reason He serves you, because you love Him.
Only then will your life have meaning and purpose-only then will your thoughts be lifted from a petty and self-defeating concern for yourself to a life of service to God and to others.
For Jesus has truly said that “He who would ave his life shall surely lose it, but he who would lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s shall surely find it.”