Yesterday, John and I took advantage of the one “good weather” day of this week by visiting the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum. As I often do when I take advantage of Boston’s myriad of historical attractions and cultural opportunities, I wondered why the Lord has given me so many earthly blessings. Living in the Greater Boston Area has definitely given me experiences that delight me, causing me to praise God for sovereignly bringing me here. Yet I know I don’t deserve His grace in bringing me to this magnificent part of the country.
In savoring the memories of yesterday’s excursion, I see an interesting juxtaposition between the rarefied privilege of seeing great art (including sketches by Michelangelo and Raphael) and the short passage of Scripture that John and I read earlier that morning.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. ~~Ephesians 1:3-6 (ESV)
“Every spiritual blessing,” Paul says. And yet, I so easily content myself with temporal blessings like visiting the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum. It seems, actually, that most people, when we think of blessings, almost always think of the good things in life here and now. Sometimes we even attribute those good things to God, rightly acknowledging His worthiness of our praise and thanksgiving. I have every reason to praise and thank Him for all that He does for me.
But as I admired the splendid courtyard at the Museum’s hub and gazed on the rich paintings and enormous tapestries, I realized that it was all worthless junk in comparison to the treasure of belonging to Christ. And Boston, the city I love with a passion, could never fill me with the joy and wonder of heaven, where I’ll finally see the face of my glorious Savior. How I worship Him, even now, for graciously saving my from my sin and clothing me in His righteousness!
All the truly wonderful things the Lord has allowed me to enjoy now seem so superficial when I measure them against the spiritual blessings that the Father gives me in Christ. Yes, I praise Him for yesterday’s visit to the museum. I had a fabulous time! But I praise Him even more for those spiritual blessings that I’ll enjoy in His eternal kingdom.