Now, I will say, I am the type who feels perfectly happy cutting off mold from a block of cheese and eating what remains. That doesn't bother me a bit. But, the problem is that when mold hits grated Parmesan, it is a lost cause. The mold is throughout. And, the whole container is lost. A waste. This was a bummer on a number of levels... the waste of perfectly good (and a bit expensive here where I live!) Parmesan and a recipe that was "unmake-able" because the Parmesan was at the center of the flavor for this dish! It didn't ruin my day, but it did ruin my plans.
Everything we see rots... or molds... or dies out... or sags... or wrinkles... or tires. How many times have I gone to my refrigerator and had something rotten to be thrown out? Or how many times have I had to throw out, or give away, my favorite pair of jeans because that one hole finally gave out. There is little in our world that is lasting. And, there isn't much that is not susceptible to decay.
Frail and fleeting. Temporary and transient.
The other day I felt worn out. I bundled up and dragged myself, and my cup of coffee, out to our prayer shed. And, I sat there feeling a bit down. I was discouraged. I was tired.
And then I stumbled on these words... "May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word." (2 Thess. 2:16,17)
Eternal encouragement. Our Lord Jesus and our Father have for us a never ending supply of encouragement to give us! A fully stocked refrigerator of encouragement... that never rots, doesn't mold and won't run out!
And, the source of this encouragement... this "aiōnios" (which in Hebrew means "without beginning and end, never to cease, everlasting") encouragement... comes from God's love and His grace. It is from Himself. This eternal encouragement is His being. From His very Self, His love and grace bubble up and flow out. This grace flows to us in an ever existing, ever full, abundant river of encouragement ready for the drinking!
With this drinking... with this pouring... comes hope and strength. And, our hearts are filled.
I was filled that tired, weary afternoon. My heart was encouraged and hoped welled up from within. I was strengthened to continue on... to continue on in good deeds and good words.
There isn't much in this world that lasts... and much around me rots, molds and decays. It is good to be reminded of the eternal, the lasting, the never ending... and so sweet to be reminded of the Source.
"Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval." (John 6:27)