“Thus the Lord said to me: “Go and get yourself a linen sash, and put it around your waist, but do not put it in water.” So I got a sash according to the word of the Lord, and put it around my waist. And the word of the Lord came to me the second time, saying, “Take the sash that you acquired, which is around your waist, and arise, go to the Euphrates, and hide it there in a hole in the rock.” So I went and hid it by the Euphrates, as the Lord commanded me. Now it came to pass after many days that the Lord said to me, “Arise, go to the Euphrates, and take from there the sash which I commanded you to hide there.” Then I went to the Euphrates and dug, and I took the sash from the place where I had hidden it; and there was the sash, ruined. It was profitable for nothing. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Thus says the Lord: ‘In this manner I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. This evil people, who refuse to hear My words, who follow the dictates of their hearts, and walk after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be just like this sash which is profitable for nothing. For as the sash clings to the waist of a man, so I have caused the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to cling to Me,’ says the Lord, ‘that they may become My people, for renown, for praise, and for glory; but they would not hear.’”
Jeremiah 13:1-11 NKJV
I often wish life had do overs. I wasted so many years chasing after worthless things, feeding my appetites, addressing my own wants and needs, as if worshiping the god of self. After all the money and all the time wasted, I have nothing to show for it, as all those efforts and resources were wasted, and worth nothing. It was as if I had dropped all of that into a hole and covered it up.
Reading the “sash” passage in Jeremiah 13, it finally occurred to me the nature of life dedicated to worthless things. God had commanded Jeremiah to take a new sash and bury it in a hole. Over time, the elements got to it no it was ruined. Had it not been buried, or could have been worn, it would have been useful, and fulfilled its purpose.
The passage in Jeremiah offers much by way of application for the New Testament follower of Christ. It causes one to reflect on what we dedicate our lives to, whether it is sowing to the Spirit, or sowing to dissipation.
The time and efforts of my past were wasted, as I pursued uselessness. So much could have been dedicated to God, to the service of the Gospel. All of my efforts would have gone before me, building up treasure in Heaven, instead of clouding my memories with much regret.
““Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV
In the past, my heart was bent on making me happy. It was all vanity, as the more I tried useless things, the less happy I became, and ultimately, the more I tried. It was a vicious circle, spiraling ever downward, sinking me ever deeper into despair.
Salvation changed everything.
My life is more focused these days, as I seek to glorify the Lord with all that I have. Even as I have less, I give the Lord even more.
I remember in my early days of my faith, seeking employment. Most of the jobs I looked for had weekend hours, which meant that I would miss church. I searched and searched and eventually opted for a night job. I remember crawling into church for the first service every Sunday, fighting the desire to sleep. It meant everything to me to be in the house of the Lord.
Brothers and sisters, we all have “sashes”, those things that we know we should be dedicating to God, but have instead dedicated to the things of this world. Some of us have gifts and talents, things that we do really well.
I think of my dear friend Howard Lammey, one of the most gifted guitar players I have ever heard. He has dedicated his life to playing for the King. He could have made tons of money in the world, but instead, he is heaping up mountains of treasure in Heaven. There are so many more people I know, each dedicating what they do to the Lord.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Romans 12:1-2 NKJV
Let us be those living sacrifices, seeking after God with every resource, every aspect of our being. It is easy and very tempting to attempt to straddle Heaven and earth, having one foot in the Spirit, and the other in the world. I can tell you that it does not work. Ultimately, one ends up seeking the pleasures that feed the flesh.
Instead of seeing our efforts ruined by the pursuit of the world, let us instead be ruined for the world. I can say that I am no good in this world anymore. My values have been ever changed and my heart transformed. I feel like a alien on a strange planet. I rejoice in my being peculiar, of my values running against those prevailing in the world. Even under attack, and those attacks do come, I stand with Jesus.
Let us not be like the worthless servant who buried the talent in Matthew 25, demonstrating wickedness and unbelief. He buried his talent and had nothing to present.
““But his Lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.”
Matthew 25:26-28 NKJV
May our lives be as sashes, clinging to the waist of our Lord Jesus, worn into glory, worn in honor, fulfilling the purpose He created us for.
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