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A Wasted Life is an Early Death

We continue to explore Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. As Jesus spoke to His disciples and followers, He shone the light into the souls of His listeners. His words pierced their hearts as well as ours. He challenges us to focus on things that last forever, things that are eternal, rather than things of this world. People at that time had their temptations; indeed, they didn't have the Internet and TV, and all the temptations that destroyed the character of many, but they had things that entangled their hearts in deep darkness. I think that if they were somehow able to see into the future and view our lives today, with all the possessions of the 21st century, even in the lives of believers, they would be shocked. It is likely they would find our lives so complicated and so full of all kinds of things that it would seem incredulous to them that sin has managed to gain acceptance in the culture. I wonder how many people of those days would trade their lives, if they could, for a life in the 21st century.


President Ferdinand Marcos became president of the Philippines in 1965, crediting his wife, Imelda, as the one who swung the election in his favor. Imelda was looked up to by the many who were poor in their country, perhaps because she was a beauty queen in her younger years. The Philippines went through great economic hardship after the Marcos government stole an estimated 5-10 billion dollars from the country, holding the Guinness World record for the greatest robbery of a government.[1] After mass protests in 1986, Ferdinand agreed to step down as president. The couple soon fled to Hawaii, where they spent years in exile. Imelda left many of her belongings behind at Malacanang Palace, leading the press to report extensively on her massive wardrobe.[2] Imelda’s shoe collection reportedly totaled 3,000 pairs. Her wardrobe also included 15 mink coats, 508 gowns, 888 handbags, and a bulletproof bra. Many of Imelda’s shoes are on display at the National Museum of the Philippines in Manila.[3] I wonder how many of those who gained great riches ever reflect on a wasted life and vain pursuits. It was Johann Goethe who said, "A wasted life is an early death." The most important thing one can leave behind is the impact they have had on other lives. This was the focus of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount—making an impact on those around you by the quality of your character, your relationship with God, as well as your relationships with others.


In our last few meditations from Matthew 6:1-18, we looked at the Lord’s encouragement for us to maximize our rewards for the end of the age when comes the Harvest of the Earth (Mark 4:29; Revelation 14:15). In Matthew 6, verses 19-34, the Lord carries on this theme, focusing on the kinds of things we can do that can affect our eternity and those around us. We can so focus on happiness in this life that we forget to store up for our eternal well-being. The pursuit of happiness is one of our values as Americans but should one's life be wasted in just serving ourselves and making ourselves "happy?" How many shoes did Imelda get to before she became "happy," if ever she did? Should we pursue the things of this world for temporary comfort? I put it to you that our pursuit, especially if you are a follower of Christ, is the glory of God—Jesus said we are to lose our self-life and follow His model: “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work (John 4:34). What the Lord is saying is that the food that really satisfies Him on the inside is to do God’s will. If that is so with Him, how much more those who walk with Him? There should be no regrets for the children of God as they approach their twilight years. On your deathbed, as you look back over your life, may it be full of expectation of beholding Christ and receiving your reward. Keith Thomas.


This meditation is from the complete study found at the following link:


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