You are relaxing on a fluffy Hawaiian beach towel in Ka’anapali, Maui. A cool ocean breeze calms the warm day as you sift fine sand between your toes and gently lean back on a low-slung palm tree. In your right hand you are rubbing your thumb over a smooth shell polished by the waves.
Across the strait, whales arch and splash as they frolic on their migratory route. They are magnificent in form and motion. Their backdrop is the lush island of Lanai, populated by forests of pineapples ringed by pristine white beaches and turquoise tides.
In the waters directly in front of you lay small coral reefs teeming with colorful fish of all shapes and sizes. They are joined by majestic stingrays and grand sea turtles that slowly cut through wide-open expanses of blue. Behind you looms the regal Haleakala volcano that rises to the heavens, cloaked in whispers of clouds that cling to its crown.
You are served a refreshing pineapple-coconut drink complete with a yellow paper umbrella and a tangy slice of orange perched on the rim. As you sip its cool texture, you are embraced by the soothing sounds of seabirds and rustling palm branches above you. You don’t have a care or concern in the world. You are at peace, surrounded by amazing serenity and beauty.
Soon, the sun begins to descend, casting orange and red hues that are magnified and mirrored by the settling ocean. Lanai now appears as a massive sentinel bathed in golden and crimson rays. The air is still warm and inviting. Dusk adds another act to the overall scene of splendor and tranquility.
God’s general revelation is evident…clearly seen…in the mountains, seas and skies. The rocks cry out and attest to His glory and presence.
In the corner of your eye you notice a young teenage boy with thick, matted black hair and dingy clothes. He is stumbling across the ripples of sand. He’s obviously drunk and homeless. He gets closer. His sleeveless shirt reveals a tattoo of a blood-tipped dagger on his arm. His ears have multiple piercings.
He approaches you, smirks, and utters a slurred inquiry that is almost inaudible. Before you can reply, he bends over and throws up into the sand at the foot of your towel. The hot puke splatters onto your toes.
The boy then falls down into his own vomit and assumes a fetal position in the filth. Grains of sand stick to the fluids around his mouth. The smell is overwhelming and is grossly enhanced by odors of urine, excrement and alcohol.
Which is more representative of the pinnacle of God’s creation? The breathtaking landscape or the putrid street boy?
Which is made in the image of God?
Which is closer to His heart?
Which is worth far more than a hundred beaches, a thousand volcanoes, a million whales, and a trillion sunsets?