In the second book of The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan tells the story of Christiana (Christian’s wife). At some point in her journey to the celestial city, she enters the house of Interpreter. He leads her into a room, where she sees two men. The first is holding a muck-rake in his hand. He’s raking the dust for anything he can use – straw and sticks. The second man is above the man with the muck-rake. He’s offering to trade the crown for the muck-rake. But the man with the muck-rake won’t look in any direction but down. He’s absorbed with raking the muck. Interpreter says, “It is to let you know that earthly things, when they occupy people’s minds, carry their hearts away from God.”
How many people live just like that? How many live as though the things of this earth are all that matter?
God offers us membership in His family. He offers us heavenly treasures and eternal pleasures (Ps. 16:11; Lk. 12:33). He offers us the crown of glory that will never fade away (1 Pet. 5:4). He offers us a renewed universe in which righteousness dwells (2 Pet. 3:13). He offers us eternity without pain, sorrow, or death (Rev. 21:4). He offers us the beatific vision, whereby we will behold His glory in Christ Jesus (Matt. 5:8). But most people never even look up. They’re too absorbed with their muck-rake. They’re too busy collecting straw and sticks (all that is earthly) that they never consider what God offers them.
Christiana weeps, and cries out, “Oh, deliver me from this muck-rake!”