Recently a dear friend asked me to read a book on near-death-experiences (NDE's), Imagine Heaven by John Burke.
Her reasoning was that it would motivate me to look beyond this world to what awaits me...that what I learned from it would give me a hope that no matter how messed up things are here... now...that the best is yet to come.
I have to admit that I began with great skepticism, passing all I read through my Great-Sieve-of-Doubt...
Until today, when I read this...
"Not everyone can succeed in the world's eyes. Most will not be rich, famous, or powerful, and the world's glory will pass away with death; yet every single person can succeed in what God put them here to do. He looks at the heart and motives most.
The world tells us money matters, power matters, prestige matters--and we drive ourselves crazy trying to prove to one another that we're successful enough, important enough, powerful enough; yet in the end it's relationship that truly matters. How ironic that in trying to prove we are worthy of love through accomplishments, we could miss accepting God's love and sharing it with those around us-- and in the end, that matters most for true success!
Everybody wants to change the world; nobody wants to love their neighbor! Yet all God wants us to do to change the world is to love God so we can love our neighbor as much as ourselves. We may accomplish big things in the world's eyes...But if we fail to love our families, our neighbors, our co-workers and those in need whom God puts in our path, we've failed in the primary task God's given us to do."
Which got me to thinking about true success according to what God says.
If God is looking at my heart and motives, and cares more about my relationship with Him and others and less about what the world says is important, how am I doing?
Remember those days in school, where your mind was off rambling through fields of daydreams, when suddenly the teacher called on you and you had no idea what she was talking about? Because you weren't paying attention? And then everything came quickly into focus?
That's what I'm talking about...how easy it is to go through a day, or a lifetime, thinking about other things and missing what is most important...
Love. For Him. And for others.
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself."
According to Him, if we succeed in love and relationships, we are successful.
I don't know about you, but sometimes I need to be reminded...given a nudge...a wake up call...to stop daydreaming and focus...
To have my eyes opened to what is most important.
And maybe that's what these near-death-experiences offer to those who undergo them.
I don't know.
But I do know that someday, when I kneel before Him, I want Him to be pleased.
To know that I loved Him, as imperfect as that love is...
And that I spent my time on earth pursuing the things that matter to Him.
Oh Lord, may it be so!
And about the book? Still out on that one. I understand that if God is using dreams and visions to call tens of thousands of Muslims to Himself then maybe, just maybe, He is using this book to open eyes to what is to come.
I know it has opened mine.
In the meantime, I have my hands full learning how to love...Him and others...
And live a truly successful life!
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/81249623@N00/23501354364">Heaven</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">(license)</a>