For the start of today's devotional, you'll need to let your imagination wander. Ready? Transport yourself to the following scene:
A few minutes ago, you landed at Orlando International Airport. You're in town to go to Disney World. Whether you're there with your kids or on a business trip is up to you. You pick up the keys to your rental car and start driving down the highway.
Several miles into the journey, you spot the first sign for Disney World. Parked next to the sign on the side of the road is a family unpacking their luggage. You assume that they're having car trouble, so you generously pull over and offer to help.
But this family's car is working perfectly. It turns out that they're commencing their vacation right then and there. You try persuading them that they haven't reached their ultimate destination yet, but they won't listen. They saw the sign for Disney World and parked.
Yes, it's a comically absurd illustration, but I think many Christians are like this family when it comes to the beauty of the created world. Let me explain.
God has filled this world with beauty. There's the beauty of the delicate orchid, the spotted leopard and the multi-hued sunset. There's the beauty of a delicious meal, a tender kiss and a raucous cheer of a crowd after a musical performance.
All of these things are beautiful, but it's not ultimate beauty. The beauty of the created world was never meant to satisfy our hearts. It was never meant to be the beauty that we would give ourselves to search for, live for, cry for and die for.
Rather, the physical beauties of earth are meant to be SIGN BEAUTIES. Everything we see, touch, taste and hear is designed to be a sign that points to the ULTIMATE BEAUTY: the One who created the world and everything in it.
When we look to our material possessions for identity, meaning and purpose, we're stopping at the Disney World sign. When our spouse, our children, our career, or our friends become the motivation to get us out of bed in the morning, we're stopping at the Disney World sign. When a day in nature means more to us than a half-hour in personal worship and prayer, we're stopping at the Disney World sign.
Perhaps our hearts feel empty and our souls are dissatisfied because we, like that tourist family, are content to park at the first sign and not continue on to the ultimate destination.
Keep driving. In the Lord, you will find true beauty - the kind that really does satisfy.
- What are some sign beauties that you love? How do these reveal the creativity and glory of God?
- Do you spend too much time and energy on a certain sign beauty? Is it at risk of becoming an idol in your heart?