by Dr. Jack Hyles (1926-2001)

(Chapter 4 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Blue Denim and Lace)

The Jews had many holy days, special seasons, feasts, etc. Colossians 2:14-17 reminds us that these were nailed to the cross. "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. (Colossians 2:14-17)

Paul said in Galatians that he was afraid of the Galatian people who had lapsed back into legalism and the observance of days and seasons lest he had bestowed labor upon them in vain. In his writings the apostle gives much space to the fact that in Christ every day is a holy day and every season a holy season.

Places were also sacred to the Jews. There was the Holy of Holies in the temple as well as other places that became known as sacred. Jesus was talking to the woman at the well when suddenly she interrupted him by suggesting that the Jews worshipped in Jerusalem but the Samaritans worshipped on Mt. Gerizim. He then reminded her, "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. (John 4:23) Hence, there are now no sacred places - only sacred relationships.

Someone would say, "Pastor, how about the place where you were saved, the spot where you were married, the place you became engaged, etc. - are these sacred places?"

No. The place is not sacred. It is the relationship that is sacred. The place and date are simply made dear because of the sacred relationship. Hence, the Christian should have no sacred places, but many dear places; no sacred days, but many dear days. He should however, have sacred relationships. The spot should be only a reminder, not the object. There are several such spots in my life, such as the place where I was saved, my father's grave, etc. These spots, however, are not sacred spots. These are only places held dear because of relationships and events that are held sacred. Because of this, we should make many of them. With the passing of the years they will be even more dear to us. In order to make such dear places we must find how to do so.

1. Think now how you will feel later. One of the tragic things of this depraved human race is that we have to wait until an experience is ended before it has been made dear to us. If the spot will someday be a treasured one, let us make it such now. Character enables one to appreciate the present as those who have no character will appreciate it in the future. The chair in which a loved one sits, the pulpit behind which a dear pastor speaks, the organ bench on which an organist sits, the desk of an office worker, and other places will someday become hallowed spots. If this be true, we should appreciate and see them as such now. The things that one is now doing will some day become dear and hallowed things. The rearing of the children, the living of a normal home life, and even youth itself will some day be looked back upon with reverence. Why not look upon the enjoyment as such while it is in progress? As the pastor walks to the pulpit, he should realize that someday this spot will be very dear, so it should be very dear now. When the office worker sits behind his desk, he should realize his privilege while he sits there. It is sad that so many of us have to wait until days are past to really appreciate them.

2. Remember that the usual will someday become the unusual. Everything is temporary. Because it is, the usual should be treated as the unusual. That which will someday become the unusual should be treated as the unusual today. A trip to the zoo, a night with the family, the eating of hamburgers at a drive-in sandwich shop, etc. will someday be precious memories. The person with character will make them precious experiences now.

3. Use the same place. People who have close ties are happy people. In order to make those close ties there must be familiarity. Some people who love each other meet at the same spot year after year. Others pray for each other at the same time day after day. Others eat at the same restaurant, etc. As an experience takes place at the same place, or at the same time, it becomes more dear and sacred. Man is a creature of habits. Proper habits can make, not only for treasured memories, but treasured experiences now.

4. Measure the relationship now. One of the sad things about us is that we wait until the tree is fallen before we measure it. Anybody can measure a fallen tree; character measures the tree while it is still standing. Do not wait until you lose him to know how much you love him. measure that love now. It isn't death that makes something sacred; it is life. Character makes it sacred now. If you work for a good employer, realize it now! Do not wait until he is gone. If you have a good husband or wife, realize it now. Do not wait until that one is taken.

5. Make gifts what they ought to be. A gift is a shrine where the recipient meets the giver and an altar where he thanks God for the giver. Choose what you wear carefully. A certain tie can be worn as a reminder of the one who gave it. This chapter is being dictated in the Atlanta, Georgia, airport. The cuff links and "tie tac" that I wear are gifts from dear friends. Hence, I am now thinking of them and praying for them. A simple thing such as a cuff link has become a shrine where I meet the giver and an altar where I thank God for the giver. Gifts should be purposely used in order to remind us of those whom we love.

6. A disciplined schedule makes for sacred times. The person who does the same thing at the same time will find it a precious time. Wise is the person who schedules his time. In so doing, he is building up memories of things that happened at a certain hour so as to make that hour dear and precious in the future. One of the secrets to life is the discipline of time. This and other things make for close ties and sentimental people. People often say that they are just not affectionate and sentimental. The simple truth may be that they are not disciplined. Proper discipline of time, mind, and life will make for regular activities that may be looked upon in the future as dear ones. With character these can be treasured now.

7. A route can make sacred places. There are many such sacred trails. The child who takes the same way to school each morning is making the route a revered one. The man who drives the same way each day to work may do the same thing. Just a few months ago we visited a city where I pastored for seven years. How dear to me was the route between my home and the church because I took the same route each day. It became almost sacred to me. Hence, how happy I was to retrace my steps once again.

8. Enter into close relationships. A few years ago as a young man I read a book that had a very vital influence on my life. It was called Try Giving Yourself Away. I do not recall the contents of the book; I do recall its title. I decided then and there to give myself away in human relationships. I decided not to be afraid to enter into close relationships. I have never been sorry. Hence, my friends are sacred. My relationships are sacred. I have known intimate ties that I have treasured, do treasure, and will treasure all my life.

No place is sacred in itself. No time is sacred in itself. Hence, if a place or a time becomes sacred, it is so because of relationships and disciplined lives that make it possible. Such discipline and such relationships can make life more meaningful and more worthwhile. They can make every gift a shrine, every bush a burning bush, every spot of ground holy ground, every building a temple, and every day a holy day.


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