So what of the American dream? What of the purpose driven life, and the best life now? We are constantly bombarded with advertising that dangles digital carrots in front of our noses to coerce our hard earned dollars out of our grasp and into theirs. Materialism has become the god of today’s societies and even China’s new generation’s pursuit of wealth rivals that of anywhere in the world.
So what of it? What is life’s purpose? Co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, was worth $7 billion when he passed away, yet on his death bed he lamented, “At this moment, lying on the bed, sick and remembering all my life, I realize that all my recognition and wealth that I have is meaningless in the face of imminent death.”
Today we ride in a car or truck, tomorrow we ride in a hearse. Today we sleep in a comfortable bed, tomorrow we sleep in a casket. Today we are sheltered by a roof, tomorrow we are covered with dirt. Everything on the earth is temporal.
We all belong to God. “The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.” Psalm 103:15-16. The late Reverend Billy Graham said that the one thing that surprised him about life was the brevity of it. The Psalmist wrote, “Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.” Psalm 39:4.
In the short span of time we have upon this earth, it is prudent to consider all that we are and the realization that our Creator has provided wisdom through his word, so that we can make the most of our lives. The words of Jesus resonate through the ages and captivate the focus of the wise, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for their soul?” Mathew 16:26.
The apostle Paul wrote in his first letter to the church at Thessalonica, what I believe is good advice for those who wish to live as Christians ought to live. In the fourth chapter, he wrote, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable,” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4. He goes on to say that we should not take advantage of each other, but be honest in our dealings, treating each other with love. “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12.
We must clean our hearts and minds of ungodly things that lead to sin. Don’t let things occupy your heart that lead to evil. Pornography, internet images, advertising, greed and lust. Fill your mind with the word of God by spending time in scripture daily. Displace carnal thoughts with spiritual wisdom. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Philippians 4:8.
The finitude of life is a reality we all sooner or later must come to terms with. When we contemplate life, we simply cannot escape how fleeting and fragile it is and how quickly it passes by. The apostle James aptly put it this way, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14.
Our time on earth may be short but it doesn’t have to be meaningless. We have a brief window of opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others, to lift up the downtrodden, to feed the hungry, comfort the weak and clothe the poor. Christ calls upon us to serve him and do his work in the world, and blessed are those who do that work!
Eternal life in heaven is the reward for those who believe in Jesus Christ and his resurrection. He is the eternal God. If he wasn’t, he could not offer eternal life. Then the gospel would not be good news since, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” 1 Corinthians 15:9.
Yes, our life on earth is brief. Yes, our life on earth is fragile. Yes, our life on earth is frail. But it is just the beginning of our existence. It is but a drop in an ocean of eternity.
Clinton Bezan is a compelling and authentic Christian voice and published author proclaiming the truth of the Bible as God’s word and the gospel of Jesus Christ. His unique appreciation and passion for Christ are evident in his answer to God’s call to write.