Okay... Picture this... "You're Dead!"
Freak accident at the old folks home on Bingo night... seems Beatrice
heard 8 when it was actually 11 and you get caught in the ensuing
violence... seems that blue rinse spray-it-on gel ingested in small
but close-up quantities can be lethal...
Anyways... you die... big funeral service -
9 or 10 people - get taken to the graveyard in a big Mr Price Home
econo-box and buried. Unelegant, unflashy, basically small rectangular
block of cement tombstone placed above your grave with an inscription...
Inscription reads: "WHAT WAS THE POINT?"
BAM!!!! Right between the eyes!
Now the question I want to ask here is 'What
IS the point of your life?'
Or to look at it a different way, if you look
back at the world and for the last 365 and a quarter days you had
not existed on planet earth... would anyone have noticed? Besides
your family and maybe some friends? Besides your church? Any non-Christians?
Any needy people (poor, sick, in prison, hungry, homeless)? your
Ecclesiastes 2:1-11[King Solomon son of David
"I thought in my heart, "Come
now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good."
But that also proved to be meaningless. "Laughter," I
said, "is foolish. And what does pleasure accomplish?"
I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly - my mind
still guiding me with wisdom. I WANTED TO SEE WHAT WAS WORTHWHILE
FOR ME TO DO UNDER HEAVEN DURING THE FEW DAYS OF THEIR LIVES.
I undertook great projects: I built houses
for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted
all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves
of flourishing trees. I bought male and female slaves and had other
slaves who were bron in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks
than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for
myself and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and
women singers, and a harem as well - the delights of the heart of
I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem
before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself
nothing my eyes desired: I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart
took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my
labour. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what
I had toiled to achieve, EVERYTHING WAS MEANINGLESS. a chasing after
the wind; nothing was gained under the son."
I think that this concept is quite easy for
us to visualise - if I spend my life making money, the moment I
die I have to leave it all precincts behind... if I chase fame my
whole life, from the moment I die that starts to fade and the next
big star/sportsperson/business idea comes along... If I pursue buying
things, it gets stolen/goes rusty/gets broken/out of date...
And so in my head it is easy to get that -
sure, everything is meaningless - but then why for so many is it
so difficult to really believe or live out...?
Matthew 6:24 says "No man can serve two
masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will
be devoted to the one and despise the other.
"But WHATEVER WAS TO MY PROFIT I
CONSIDER LOSS for the sake of Christ. What is more, I CONSIDER EVERYTHING
A LOSS compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus
my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I CONSIDER THEM
RUBBISH, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having
a righteousness that comes from the law, but that which is through
faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God and is by
faith. I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and
the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings becoming like Him in
His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the
Not that I have already obtained all this,
or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of
that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not
consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do:
Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I
press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called
me heavenwards in Christ Jesus."
[another passage to read is Luke 14:25-33 where
Jesus says that anyone that doesn't hate his mother and father and
everyone he knows and EVEN HIS OWN LIFE then he cannot be His disciple]
I think that one of the problems stems from
the fact that too many people sometimes see salvation/becoming a
Christian as "being saved from..." rather than "being
saved to..." which I think is coupled with our idea that Eternity
begins only when we die as opposed to from the minute we accept
Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
We have been saved from sin and one day when
we die we will get the reward...
But that is not the complete picture and I
think leads in part to the way we live our lives on earth and are
captivated so much by the meaningless stuff of the world... we have
our gaze fixed somewhere in the future and all that God will give
to us then rather than to the abundant life that He promises while
we are still here... and sure it will only be perfect when we get
to heaven because we are still fallen creatures living in a messed
up world... but the Kingdom of God starts here and we need to face
that and realise that not only have we been saved from (sin) but
also saved to (new life, opportunities to be used by God, spiritual
gifts, loving growing relationship with God and people)
There is a promise: 1 Peter 2:9 "But you
are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people
belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called
you out of darkness into His wonderful light."
Not just saved from... but CALLED TO!
And so practically, what does this mean for
you? Well in the words of 1 Corinthians 10:31 "So whether you
eat or drink or whatver you do, do it all for the glory of God."
It means that every single day you should be
busy planning your eulogy... planning the inscription that will
be written on your tombstone... and not so much by people, but more
by God if He was going to sum up your life... live each day with
the aim of affecting that... don't get to the end of your life and
be able to look back and think: 'WHAT WAS THE POINT?'
What has helped me it to at regular intervals
take stock of my life - maybe at the end of each year - or even
at the end of a term or season - sit down and write a letter to
God or to myself of exactly where I am with God at the moment -
how close am I to Him? Where am I being used by Him? What things
are tripping me down in life? Where would I like to be? What are
my aims for the next year? How are my relationships? and be totally
honest and open in it and let it be as long as it needs to be...
then I usually put it away and open it again a year later [or give
it to someone to post it to me 6 months later or whenever] and see
how much progression there has been and change things that need
to be changed... and go and ask for forgiveness where that needs
to happen... and throw out some meaningless stuff where I notice
that... and so on...
Just do it before it's the end of your life
and it's too late and all you have is regrets... it is NEVER too
late while you are still alive... even if you are old and grey or
whatever - if you put yourself in God's hands He can and will use
you - that is what He absolutely desires to do - be in deep relationship
with you and using you in His kingdom - join with Paul in forgetting
what is behind and pressing on with what is ahead... Let's give
this life a point!