In a Christian world that consciously or subconsciously exalts the pastor/celebrity, the one with the big and booming ministry, who has it all together, I believe the men and women whom God is most pleased with are perhaps mostly unseen in this age.
What matters to God is not the works of our hands and bodies, but the measure and posture our hearts. And these men and women are not all healthy, or wealthy or necessarily ‘wise’, but perhaps they all are marked by a dependence, a leaning and a longing. For these people – health or lack of – is a reason for dependence. Wealth, or lack of, is a reason for dependence.
And perhaps a genuine mark of God’s work in your life, is not seeing more success or health in your life, but it is seeing Him shift your life into a place where you are more dependent upon him.
(As an aside) I don’t say the following to be critical, for the human heart is one so prone to idolatry, so “prone to wander” – and so our Christian world is a context that is as riddled with idols as the world from which it was supposed to be separate from. And we find so often, that Christian activity involves seeking to use God as a means to getting these worldly realities of health, wealth, and fame. We are ultimately taught to lean on these worthless, lifeless idols for security and life and purpose. The funny thing is, on one level, we all know the dangers of these things – deep down we know that if you worship wealth and health, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, they will eat you alive.
Back to dependent people – we now see the sustainability of such lives, because health and wealth and reputation make terrible masters, and they come and go in a blink of an eye. But the heart lasts forever and God and his kingdom are eternal.
We see the beauty of such lives, because though these people may or may not have all that the world tells us we need to be happy and content, if you have met one of these people, you might notice that their countenances are beautiful. They are beautiful for the fact that their souls are quiet, not continually trying to get recognition from you while they talk or listen. If you have met one of these people, you would notice that there is a deep and abiding contentment, and they have a joy and a peace that nothing in this world could ever take away, and it might probably bug the crap out of you. But the world cannot take any of it away because their lives are built upon the only good and lasting reality from which we can draw meaning from. They are beautiful because they are truly humble.
And there shall be a generation who are marked more than anything else, by their dependence. They are marked by their complete and utter need for God for their every breath, for their every heartbeat, for their every step, for their every meal, for their every dollar. A generation Jesus would call “blessed” for they are “poor in spirit”.