Elder, David Kenser, shares a daily reflection and devotion.
The year was 1971, I was 16 driving a 1960 Ford I had worked three months in the wheat fields to afford. It wasn’t much but it had shackle lifts on the rear end and an eight-track player I had installed under the dash. And the tune playing was the newly released Led Zepplin hit, “Stairway to Heaven.”
The opening lyrics crooned, “Their’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold, And she’s buying a stairway to Heaven.” I wouldn’t say that a band known for riotous parties culminating in tossing TV sets out of the windows (banned from Toyoko Hilton for life), was exactly God’s messenger to mankind. Nonetheless, their song contained biblical theology strong enough to preach or blog.
The opening lyrics fairly state a common failing of man to misunderstand what is really valuable, substituting the counterfeit for the real, and then to assume that what he’s accumulated will be sufficient to provide him with all that he needs – even their ultimate good, “buying a stairway to heaven.”
While money is perhaps the most common medium of wealth and many are actually trying to buy their way into Heaven by donating to charitable works or religious organizations, many are trying to barter with God by doing good deeds, attending religious services or self-denial. We seek to trade our glittering objects or actions, as though they were truly valuable to God, as if he would be enriched by our offerings, willing to trade a portion of he glory.
The truth, however, is that we have nothing to offer God in trade for his glory. We simply have nothing to trade and no way to acquire heavenly treasure. Instead, God calls us to come to him to receive “true gold” for which our counterfeit glitter can never be exchanged: “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see” (Rev 3:17-18).
Later on in their song, the lyrics ring out again with biblical truth: “Yes, there are two paths you can go by, But in the long run, There’s still time to change the road you are on.” As Jesus put it, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life” (Matt 7:13-14).
There is no purchase price for glory other than what Jesus has already paid on the cross. Instead there is a path, a path that Jesus took, which leads to Heaven. And, all we need to do, all we can do to reach heaven’s shores, is found in original call to his disciples: “Come, follow me” (Mt 4:19). Jus’ Say’n.