Do you ever wonder what you might be missing out on? Whatever path in life you chose I think it is human nature to wonder what might be different if you had chosen a different one. I have been committed to living the Christian life for over two decades now and a majority of that time has also been committed to leading others to chose the same journey. There are many common pitfalls that come on this journey, distractions that are no less real for myself than others not yet committed to being a Christ-Follower. Perhaps one of the largest being that we are missing something, missing out on all the “fun stuff.”
There is a verse in Scripture which beautifully addresses this very temptation and offers us great hope.
Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
Our essential problem is we tend to compare living for God vs. living for other things as like eating a piece of tree bark compared with an ice cream sundae! When thinking of it this way who wouldn’t chose the ice cream? However the Bible reveals a profound truth with this verse, God’s way is far better! The math here is stunning: 1 day vs. 1000 days….24hrs vs. 24,000hrs. We are taught growing up in America that more is always better than less aren’t we? What is better $1 or $1000? 24hrs with a loved one or 24,000? Another way of interpreting this verse is: a little bit of God is far better than alot of the world. Which is the essence of the struggle…most of us live our lives to get the most out of this world, to get more and more stuff, more money, more fame, more pleasure, more success.
When you dig a little bit below the surface of this verse we understand even more specifically what it might be saying. You see “the courts” were part of the Temple in Jerusalem. They were the farthest out you could be from the center of the structure and still be considered “in the Temple.” It makes me think of an arena where you would go to see a concert or sporting event. In the center on the floor is where the action is at and then the seats circle around that action. The courts would be the hallways around the arena, like where the food and bathrooms were…the hallway that you use to get to your seats within the arena. Whew…not sure how much I would enjoy a concert or sporting event from standing in those crowded hallways…and yet this is precisely what this Psalmist is saying…better to be on the fringes near God’s action then any where else!
What if upon sacrificing our lives for His we discover that we actually have taken the most fulfilling, rewarding path possible?