Are you making the conscious decision to choose beauty today?
JUNE 8, 2022
Matt Heard: Are you making the conscious decision to choose beauty today? Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
This is Key Life. We’re here to let you know that because of what Jesus has done, God will never be angry at you again. Matt Heard is a speaker, teacher, writer, pastor, coach, and the founder and principal of a ministry called Thrive. He’s been teaching this all this week.
Matt Heard: Thank you Matthew. Well, if you’ve been with us this week, you know we’re taking a journey through part of Psalm 84, and we’re asking the question, how do we engage with our life story? What are the keys to doing that? And we’ve looked at two keys so far. Psalm 84 verse five says.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
The first key is to seize the plot, to realize we’re pilgrims. We’re actually on a journey. There is a destination, there is purpose to today. Therefore there’s significance. And my life, my day has significance because I’m part of the greater story of God’s glory. The second key is in the first part of verse six, as they pass through the Valley of Baca. The second key is steward the pain. How do I engage with my story? I steward my pain. I don’t just run from it. I lean into it. I learn from it. The worst kind of pain really is, wasted pain. Well, today we’re going to look at the third key. The second part of verse six is.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca
And then here we go.
they make it a place of springs. And the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
Key number three, to really experiencing my story to the fullest is to experience the beauty, the beauty that’s embedded in each day. Beauty is not something that just happens off to the side. Something, it’s something that is present every day. And I’ve got to make a conscious choice. They’re making a choice about the Valley of Baca. What they’re saying as they pass through the Valley of Baca, they choose to make it a place of springs. And the autumn rains also cover it with pools. The word pools there is, could also be translated blessings. So there’s something that takes place in this valley of brokenness. And they’re choosing beauty. One of my favorite movies is Shawshank Redemption. It’s about Andy Dufresne who is wrongly accused and in prison with two life sentences. And he’s in this darkness of this prison. And he, long story short, he figures out a way to play Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro over the prison’s loudspeakers. If you’ve seen the movie, you won’t forget it. Everybody in the prison stops and listens to it. And Morgan Freeman’s amazing voice narrates it and he said it was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away. And for the briefest of moments, every last man at Shawshank felt free. For his stunt, Andy was confined to a brutal two weeks in the hole. And when he got out, he was having lunch with his buddies in the mess hall. And they asked him if it was really worth two weeks in the hole and he tells him that was the easiest time he’d ever done. They said what? And he said, well because I had Mr. Mozart to keep me company. And they said, you mean you toted that record player down there. He said, no, it was in here. And he points to his heart. And he says, that’s the beauty of music. They can’t get that from you. Haven’t you ever felt that way about music? And everybody’s kind of staring at him and Red, Morgan Freeman’s character said, well, I played a mean harmonica as a younger man, lost my interest in it though, didn’t make much sense in here. And remember how Andy responds? He says, well, here’s where it makes the most sense, you need it, so you don’t forget that there are places in the world that aren’t made out of stone. He is saying that in the darkest places are where we need beauty the most. But for most of us, our temptation is we’ve got to get everything right in our story before we can taste and see and get to know and experience beauty. And as a result, we keep postponing it. I think he was Maslow who said some people spend their entire lives indefinitely preparing to live, they never actually do it. You guys remember Paul in Philippians? Remember the context? He’s in prison, at least he’s chained to a Roman guard under house arrest, really on trial for his life. So things are not perfect, but in the midst of that, what does he say in Philippians four, starting with verse six, he says.
So don’t be anxious about anything
Are you kidding me? Paul’s writing this with the risk of being executed, he’s in prison. He says.
But in every situation by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
So he says.
In the midst of the difficulty pray.
But there’s something else that he says in the midst. In the very next verse, he says.
Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable.
Do you hear the harmonica in all of these things?
If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. And whatever you’ve learned or received or heard from me or seen in me, put it into practice. And the God of Shalom will be with you.
He says our Shalom comes from prayer and engaging the beauty that’s in today. The beauty of who God is, the beauty of his creation. Psalm 27:4 David says. And this is when David is being pursued by his enemies and they’re after him to kill him. And he says.
One thing I ask of the Lord, and this is what I seek.
So you think, well, that’s got to be to get away or for more weapons or what? And he says, no, this is the one thing.
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life and to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord. And to seek him in his temple.
He says, what I need in the midst of the brokenness here is beauty. The beauty of God. Now, when I speak of beauty, I’m not referring to something that’s just pretty, something superficial or sentimental. I’m not equating beauty as a lot of people in our culture do with glamor and image and excitement. If I choose to pursue that definition of beauty, I’m going to settle for counterfeits and easy amusements. I’ll indulge in really an almost narcotic form of entertainment just to serve as a diversion. And that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about going and not just something that’s pretty, but something that is laced with the fingerprints of God, it can be music, it can be weather. It can be the scenery, it can be the cackle of a child, it can be food, it can be a beautiful way that God’s working. Whatever it is. It’s presenting something to us. The Greek word for beauty and the Greek word for goodness, it’s the same Greek word, kallos. And it’s related to the Greek word for call, which is kaleo. There’s a calling that we experience when we encounter beauty. Rollo May, in his book, My Quest for Beauty says.
Beauty is eternity born into human existence.
And he goes on to say.
A chord of music such as the one that opens Beethoven’s Am Klavier Sonata sets loose within us a quality of eternity, a sense that this moment is ultimate. And one thinks I could live or die tomorrow, but now I have this moment.
Do you hear Ecclesiastes chapter three in that? Verse 11.
He’s made everything beautiful in it’s time. God has also set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
So, even as fall and creatures, we have eternity in our heart. And as a result, we can behold beauty. Now, we don’t know what it means, this on the other side of the gospel.
When we embrace the gospel, the light of the glory of God shines within our hearts.
As Paul tells the Corinthians, and as we’re seizing the plot of God’s glory, we start connecting beauty with who God is. We start stewarding our pain. And then the third key that we’re looking at today, we start experiencing beauty, being very intentional about it. Irish poet and priest, John O’Donohue, he observed, he said.
When we experience beauty, we feel called. The beautiful stirs passion and urgency, in a sense. It calls us forth from aloneness into the warmth and the wonder of an eternal embrace. It unites us again with the neglected and the forgotten grandeur of life.
So, you take in time. I’m going to engage with my story. It’ll involve me making the conscious decision to seize the beauty of today, to pay attention, to savor. Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the great American architects, and he used to tell audiences when recounting his story growing up. He says as the winter of my ninth year. And he was on a walk up in New England, in the snow with his uncle. And his uncle was doing some errands and they had to, they left one barn, went across a field to another building. His uncle stopped. And when they got across the field and, he said, Frank I want you to look, turn back and look at our footprints, you see your footprints where your footprints, were going to all over. They were going over to this fence post and going over to this tree and this creek bed, they were zigzagging all over. He was looking at this little rabbit hole here or there. And then the uncle pointed out contrary to Frank’s zigzags. He says, look at my footsteps, look at my footprints. And there was a straight line from that other barn to where they were. And Frank Lloyd Wright said, he would love telling audiences that I determined right then and there. And he’d say it really with a twinkle in his eye. He said, I determined right then and there not to miss most things in life as my uncle had. Don’t miss the beauty today. I don’t know what’s going on in terms of brokenness, but engage with your story and engage with your story by engaging with the beauty around you and letting that beauty be a portal, to both see God and receive from God. And as a result of that intentionality. I hope you thrive today.
And that was our friend Matt Heard teaching us about the third key to experiencing our story to the fullest, engaging with beauty. Are you enjoying this week as much as I am? Hope so. And it all wraps up tomorrow, so make sure you join us for that. By the way, if you missed any of this week’s broadcast with Matt, be sure to catch those at Keylife.org. So much great content to check out. We have a station finder tool that will tell you which stations near you will be playing Key Life and Steve Brown Etc. We also have transcripts for Key Life. That means every single thing that you hear, Steve or Matt or Pete or Justin teaching, you can get that word for word in text, super useful in deepening your study. Also at Keylife.org you’ll find our digital magazine, sermons, video versions of Steve Brown Etc, Key Life Connection, and even a link to the Key Life app. And all of it is still free. Thanks to the generous support of listeners, just like you. If you’d like to donate, just call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. Or you can mail your donation to
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