We stood side by side, shoulders hunched over the same bowl. We were making date bars, a recipe familiar to both my six-year-old daughter and me. But this time was different. This time, unbeknownst to me, the packet of dates that I had already melted into the butter and sugar were of the pitted variety, unlike all of the others I had ever bought before.
Stingy as I am, I was determined not to waste my ingredients. So my poor daughter and I spent more than thirty minutes huddled together over the pot, digging through a sticky mess of syrupy goo, on a mission to remove all of the unwanted date pits. And there were several. At the time, I was convinced that they were multiplying. With every turn of the spoon, more were to be found. It felt like a lost cause. Was it really possible to locate and extricate every last pit? Yet the thought of tasting the finished product and biting down into an unforgiving stone was sufficient motivation to press on.
It was literally a pain in the neck. As I sighed at the tediousness of the task, I said out loud, “Well, this definitely wasn’t worth it.” My six-year-old replied, “What do you mean, Mom?” “I mean, it is a whole lot of effort for very little reward.”
And that’s when it hit me. Digging through dates is like fighting sin. Like a pot full of syrupy, melted dates with narrow pits dispersed throughout, our lives and hearts are riddled with hard stones of sin, some hidden, some more visible. And trying to get rid of those sinful pits is hard work. Tedious work. Pain-in-the-neck work. But unlike the temporary reward of a pit-free date bar, the reward of living a life that pleases God is indescribable and everlasting.
“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
(2 Corinthians 5:1-10)
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