Not sure if you are a bucket-list or a life-goal-kind-of-a-person, but I believe it is essential to have dreams, in order to live a fulfilled live. This past December, the former wide-eyed-five-grader, who realized during her history class that Egypt was real, and the sites were still there, finally got her wish. Be it several decades later, my husband and I treated ourselves to a trip to Egypt.
There is much to be said about a developing country, and Google will do justice to a simple image search. But, despite the culture shock, we were totally blown away by the antiquities and historical sites.
We walked through spaces carved into the rock some three-and-half-thousand years ago, appreciating the monumental sculptures, exploring the ancient hieroglyphics, marvelling at the vivid colours so amazingly preserved by the dry climate. One must ask: Why such tremendous effort?
Following our tour guide from temple to temple, the mystery slowly started to unravel. At least in my mind. One would think that becoming an all-powerful leader of one of the most developed cultures of its time, being surrounded by servants, loyal armies, artisans, scientists, priests, countless wives and untold riches—well, let’s just say many a dictator would call this an absolute heaven.
But looking at the walls and obelisks, I realized that becoming the most powerful person in the world wasn’t the pharaohs’ ultimate goal. What did each ruler strive for? The answer was right there before our eyes. It was eternal life.
Most of the stone carvings are about earning favours from gods and passing through twelve gates into eternity. The whole Egyptian civilization worked hard to fulfill their pharaohs’ dream. All the monuments, temples, tombs, and pyramids constructed with one goal in mind. Eternity.
Our Egyptologist guide explained that not only did the pharaoh needed provisions for his afterlife, he, too, had to possess the knowledge to answer questions at each of the twelve gates in order to pass through and make it to eternity. He also had to have the strength to fight multiple enemies, but most importantly the ruler needed a light heart. The requirement was simple—a heart lighter that a feather.
This brings me to a conclusion. The ruler had to take care of the economy to finance such massive builds, and the agriculture—to feed the armies of slaves and craftsmen. There was also the trade with other nations to create more prosperity. He had to finance the military to protect the vast wealth as well as expand the kingdom. And there was the education, so the population had skills to engineer, build and decorate these magnificent projects. In all that, he had one crucial job. What was it? Pharaoh’s number one job was to guard his heart.
Boy, aren’t you glad that Jesus made it easy? I am. But back to the lighter-than-a-feather-heart concept. As our historian clarified, naturally, heart, as an organ, can not be lighter than a feather. It is a metaphor. The pharaoh needed to live life in good conscience, to be just and fair. And at the end, his heart was placed on a scale, only then would he find out if he passed or was forever condemned.
How freeing is it to know that you and I can weigh our heart in an instant? We do not need to build monuments to gain favour from our God. He doesn’t require sacrifices, ceremonies and temples. He is not out there, somewhere, waiting to punish us. No. Our God became the ultimate sacrifice, so we don’t need to live with a heavy heart. He offers to listen, anytime we need to call out to Him. He loves our praises, our gratitude, our faithfulness. Yet, He doesn’t demand. He reveals Himself through goodness and love, so that we can wake up each morning with a light heart, fully knowing that our eternity is secured, without passing through twelve gates and battling monsters.
And so, as you talk to Him today, let Him know how much you appreciate all that He has done for you. Living with a feather-light-heart is much easier that hauling granite blocks through a desert. Let’s not take this fact for granted. How about we make February a month of gratitude. To join me, click here, and you will receive one email each day, a simple reminder to appreciate, and thank Him, for the simple things in life.