Versión en inglés del tema “¿Mis mejores deseos?“.
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“My best wishes for this new year“, “I wish you the best“. In dates like this is very common to listen to statements like those with a hug or two, as well. But, What really are “the best wishes” from the one who repeats the phrase to east and west? There are a thousand answers! Here the more used ones:
1. I wish your success in business .
2. I wish you health, money and love.
3. That you obtain that house you’ve looking for.
4. That you marry a rich and from-a-good-family man, etc.
But… what’s the best?
For the average person ¨the best¨ is focused on the material world: the best business, the best house, the best car, etc. Webster’s Dictionary explains this:
Best. . (superlative of `good’) having the most positive qualities; “the best film of the year”; “the best solution”; “the best time for planting”; “wore his best suit”. Most excellent, Finest, Unsurpassed, Paramount, Preeminent, Superlative. Something that´s superior to another thing and that exceeds it on a natural or moral quality.
In the natural world we say that there are things better that others, there’s no doubt about it: you can tell which car, which garment, which house is better that the other. In the world of morals, accordingly to what you see, the world goes on confusion and doesn’t know what’s best. There are many Christians that look as if they’re really confused as well. There shouldn’t be a reason for this confusion, since you may know what´s best based on His Word:
1. It is better fidelity than infidelity .
2. It is better order that disorder.
3. it is better to be sober that drunk.
4. it is better honesty than dishonesty, etc.
It is clear that when someone “wishes you the best” is referring to the material world. Or have you ever heard something like this…
1. ¨I wish you the biggest fidelity to your wife during this new year¨
2. ¨I wish you the best order in all areas of your life, your house, your work, your school, etc.”
3. ¨I wish you to be sober, and not drunk, not even for a day of the 365 in this new year¨.
4. ¨I wish you lots of honesty in the year, in your work, in your businesses, with your family¨?
It sounds really weird? Isn’t?
What does the Bible tells about ¨the best¨?
1Sa 15:22 And Samuel said, Does Jehovah delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of Jehovah? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice! To listen is better than the fat of rams! MKJV
¨Better¨ was translated from the Hebrew, ṭôb, tobe, that means ¨what’s good¨, ¨what’s kind¨, ¨what’s correct¨.
Gen 1:4 And God saw the light that it was good. And God divided between the light and the darkness. MKJV
Then we can say, that it’s better light that darkness, is better to walk in the light than in darkness, in holiness than in sin, in love that in rancor.
But coming back to 1Sam 15:22, why is it far better to obey than to offer sacrifices? Because, in one side, obedience to God and his Word is a lovely fragrance that honors and glorifies Him, and on the other hand, the Christian humbles his ¨I¨ and surrenders to the will of God . Let’s see:
Mat 21:28 But what do you think? A man had two sons; and he came to the first and said, Son, go work in my vineyard today.
Mat 21:29 He answered and said, I will not. But afterwards he repented and went.
Mat 21:30 And he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir; and did not go.
Mat 21:31 Which of the two did the will of his father? They said to Him, The first. Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you that the tax-collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
The Bible is clear in this matter : Is far better to obey God. But it is also abundant in stories of people that didn’t know how to choose , that didn’t know what was best. When crossing the Red Sea, for example, Israel didn’t know how to discern what was best, and it’s seen when the people foolishly exclaims :
Exo 14:11 And they said to Moses, Have you taken us away to die in the wilderness because there were no graves in Egypt? Why have you dealt this way with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?
Exo 14:12 Did we not tell you this word in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, so that we may serve the Egyptians? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.
Clearly, their concept of the Best was no correct. But, I do insist, the Bible is clear:
Psa 37:16 A little to the righteous is better than the riches of many wicked.
The Old King James Version states:
Psa 37:16 A littleH4592 that a righteousH6662 man hath is betterH2896 than the richesH4480 H1995 of manyH7227 wicked.H7563
The best for the world vs the best for God.
There’s a story about a far away land, where the king invited all the young men to a private audience to share an important message. Many men came and the king told them: “I am going to give you a different seed to each one of you, at the end of 6 months you should bring me in a pot whatever had grown. The most beautiful one will win my daughter’s hand”. And It was done as the king said, but there was a man that planted its seed and nothing germinated, while all the other man of the kingdom didn’t stop talking and showing about their beautiful flowers and plants that have grown from their pots. Six months later all the man paraded to the castle with such beautiful and exotic plants. The young man was really sad because, his seed never grew, he didn’t even wanted to go to the palace. But his mother insisted him to go, since he had been part of the challenge as well. With his head low and very ashamed, he paraded to the palace in last place with the empty pot in his hands. When all the others saw him they went on laughing and making fun of him, creating such a riot that only was stopped by the entrance of the king, and all were reverent. The king walk around looking and admiring each and every pot and plants. Once the inspection was finalized he called his daughter and call from the multitude the young man that brought his pot completely empty. Flabbergasted, everyone expected an explanation of such an action. The king then said: “This is the new heir to the throne and will marry mi daughter, because all of you received an infertile seed, and all of you tried to fool me planting other things; but this young man had the courage to come and show his empty pot, being sincere, real and brave, qualities that a future king must have and my daughter deserves”.
It is better, as you can tell, sincerity and humbleness that a bunch of pretended aspirations. With Christian life happens something alike: Faith doesn’t always produce results that you can admire by the world (though lately many false prophets state that God will makes us rich so the world will want to be like us). The world will never understand by its own means how is it possible for Christians to believe that it’s better to suffer for Christ than to enjoy on the brief delight of this life. But the truly Disciples of the Lord know that it is like that, and even is in writing.
Psa 84:10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness. MKJV
A son of God will rather choose to be at the front door of the house of his Lord than to live in the houses of evil . The Old KJV states:
Psa 84:10 Fora day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
David the psalmist wanted the humblest place in the House of the Lord than to live with the evil doers! Let’s see another example in Moses’ life:
Heb 11:24 Having become great, Moses by faith refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,
Heb 11:25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time,
Heb 11:26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
In the light of the interests that the world pursues, I am pretty sure, Moses probably had taken a meaningless decision, contrary to his pleasure and material prosperity. But this man knew what was best.
The best in today’s church
Psa 118:8 It is better to trust in Jehovah than to trust in man.
Psa 118:9 It is better to trust in Jehovah than to trust in princes.
One day I received and email about a controversial area I have preached once. The author told me: ¨Don’t go on disappoint me pastor Chuy, I thought that you believed in this and that. I had much of trust in you¨ So I answered him: ¨I’m so happy that I disappointed you, so you can learn to trust God and not men, don’t forget that it is written: ‘cursed is the one who trust in man’. It is better to trust in the Lord, than doing it on men!
And talking about people who doesn’t know how to choose what’s best, I am going to share something to those who are excited about having gold rain and precious stones in their meetings:
Pro 8:10 Receive my instruction and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.
Pro 8:11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.
Today there are many Christians happy of collecting gold dust and precious stones, they have forgotten the Word of God, the teachings and the doctrine. They go on having meetings to wait for something to fall from the sky, to enjoy themselves on seeing dust and little stones. And I have to make my self clear on this, I am not denying the real and genuine miracles that God keeps on doing today in his full sovereignty, but we cannot fall short following signs and miracles, specially when we are called to mainly feed in His Word.
They should, by the way, consider everything that these people feel today, they are feeling blue because their lack of money to have a traditional supper on new year’s eve:
Pro 15:16 Better is a little with the fear of Jehovah than great treasure and tumult with it.
Pro 15:17 Better is a dinner of vegetables where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred with it.
Please understand what God is showing here of what’s best!
Now let’s read this Proverb:
Pro 16:32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city.
There are people that dedicate their lives to ¨Spiritual warfare¨ and, at the same time, mistreating their wives, sons, neighbors and siblings, they don’t control their passions and concupiscence, they don’t have self control. Do you really want to conquer a city for the Lord as you preach? The best that you can do in that pretended war is to control your violent reactions and your sudden anger that creates frustration.
Until here, someone can go on asking : is it far better the criticize and rebuke than being in peace inside the church? The Bible gives us answers about this.
Pro 27:5 Open rebuke is better than secret love.
Pro 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
Some days ago I alerted someone about certain destructive false doctrines that have entered the church, unfortunately this person didn’t received the advise but came to accuse me of ¨lack of love for my city¨. I decided to send an illustration that someone shared with me and that I now share with you:
Who loves for real?
This was a conversation that three friends had before that fatal day.
Cristian: How are you? listen, what are you doing with that?
Jorge: I am playing with this ball that I just found behind that tree.
Cristian: But, are you nuts? Don’t you see? It is a bomb! Leave it before it blows and you die.
Jorge: You don’t change… don’t you see this is a small ball for me? Why don’t you leave me alone?
Brian: Hey, Jorge! Nice ball you found! I hope you’re having fun.
Cristian: but Brian, Don’t you see is not a ball? Tell him that if he doesn’t stop now he’s going to die.
Brian: Cristian, you are always the same. Haven’t change a bit. Why don’t you see that Jorge has the right to think that it’s a ball? Why everything has to be the way you see it?
Cristian: But, it’s not how I see it… it’s the reality!
Jorge: Cristian… Leave us alone!
Brian: Yes, leave Jorge alone. He has the same rights as you, he can play with whatever he pleases.
Cristian: But, Jorge… I don’t want you to die! Don’t you see that thinking the grenade is a ball is going to kill you?
Brian: Jorge, don’t listen to him. He doesn’t love you or understand you. I do, and understand your liberties. Think whatever you want… Keep on playing!
Jorge: Brian, Do you want to play with me? Mmm… look, I have to leave for a meeting, but I really enjoy knowing how much you love your game. Keep on doing it!
Cristian: Jorge, don’t you see he doesn’t love you?
Jorge: Of course he does! He understand me!
Cristian: I beg you, leave it already!
That is what happened on that sad day. I leave you to find the answer to the question: Who loved Jorge for real… the one who says destructive lies, or the one who states the truth even if it offends and confronts? What’s better?
How are you understanding what’s best? Do you go on judging accordingly to your thoughts or according to what God says?
The Bible: a map to find what’s best.
I leave you with some other texts about ¨the best¨. There’s even more, for what I understand a committed Bible student -and what every truly disciple should do- is in the possibility to know what’s best.
Pro 17:1 Better is a dry piece of bread, and quietness with it, than a house full of sacrifices with fighting.
Pro 19:22 The charm of a man is his kindness, and a poor man is better than a liar.
Pro 21:9 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop than with a quarrelsome woman and to share a house.
Pro 21:19 It is better to dwell in the wilderness than with a quarrelsome and angry woman.
Pro 28:6 Better is the poor who walks in his uprightness than he who is perverse in his ways, though he is rich.
Ecc 4:9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.
Ecc 5:5 it is better that you should not vow, than that you should vow and not pay.
Ecc 7:2 It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting; for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.
Ecc 7:3 Sorrow is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the face the heart is made better.
Ecc 7:8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning of it; the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
Ecc 9:16 And I said, Wisdom is better than strength; but the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.
Mat 5:29 And if your right eye offends you, pluck it out and throw it from you. For it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be thrown into hell.
1Co 7:9 But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn.
Php 1:10 that you may distinguish between things that differ, that you may be sincere and without offense until the day of Jesus Christ.
Php 1:22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor. Yet I do not know what I shall choose.
1Pe 3:17 For it is better, if the will of God wills it, to suffer for well-doing than for evil-doing.
Then, from our heart and now that we come to understand it , I wish you the best.