Does the above picture turn your stomach a bit? It should if you entertain the thought of trying to eat one these slimy mollusks? In fact, even saying the word mollusk or the possibility of seeing it on a restaurant menu evokes less than desirable sensations. As we prepare for our annual “Stewardship Victory Sunday” here at North Pointe Baptist Church, I am reminded of an old legend of a swan and a crane.
A beautiful swan alighted by the banks of the water in which a crane was wading about seeking snails. For a few moments the crane viewed the swan in stupid wonder and then inquired:
“Where do you come from?”
“I come from heaven!” replied the swan.
“And where is heaven?” asked the crane.
“Heaven!” said the swan, “Heaven! have you never heard of heaven?” And the beautiful bird went on to describe the grandeur of the Eternal City. She told of streets of gold, and the gates and walls made of precious stones; of the river of life, pure as crystal, upon whose banks is the tree whose leaves shall be for the healing of the nations. In eloquent terms the swan sought to describe the hosts who live in the other world, but without arousing the slightest interest on the part of the crane.
Finally the crane asked: “Are there any snails there?”
“Snails!” repeated the swan; “no! Of course there are not.”
“Then,” said the crane, as it continued its search along the slimy banks of the pool, “you can have your heaven. I want snails!”
Dear Christian, this fable may appear to be somewhat abstract, but from it proceeds a deep, convicting truth. How many a young man to whom God has granted the advantages of a Christian home, has turned his back upon it and searched for snails? How many a man will sacrifice his wife, his family, his all, for the sensual snails of sin! How many a young girl has deliberately turned from the love of parents and home to learn too late that heaven has been forfeited for snails! How many church members have stiffened their spine and hardened their hearts as their pastors and missionaries appeal for them to get involved in giving at the expense of souls being saved, disciples being mobilized, and Jesus Christ being known in every corner and crevice of the globe!
During a season of ministry when stewardship is emphasized, may I plead with you to stop focusing on the snails of this world and center your heart upon the splendors of heaven? We all must elevate our appetites! Paul reminds us of where our focus should be in the verses below:
Col 3:1 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.”
Col 3:2 “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
Dr. George Morrison, a Scottish preacher, once said, “The important thing is not what we live in, but what we look for.” Hebrews 11 records that Abraham lived for decades in a nomadic tent that he might one day thrive in a city “with foundations” whose building and maker is God! What are you living for? What are you looking for? Listen, don’t be satisfied with the familiar but dull-tasting at best snails of this world; hold out for and invest in receiving the sweet, satisfy-your-deepest-longings splendors of not just the place but the Person of Heaven!