Jesus told a parable about a “certain rich man” whose material abundance necessitated his building of bigger barns (Luke 12:16-21). Upon the completion of his barn expansion project, he sit back, put up his feet and said to himself, “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” Although Smith Barney and E.F. Hutton would be proud to claim someone possessing such an impressive portfolio as their client, the eternal brokerage firm of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost considered him a “fool” for having never consulted them about his eternal investments. The very night that this rich fool figured himself fixed for life was the same night his life abruptly ended.
Like the rich fool in Jesus’ parable, multitudes of people in our world today prepare for assumed futures while ignoring the certainty of death. Although none of us know how much longer we shall live in this world, all of us know that our lives shall someday end. Still, most of us live our lives absorbed with the temporal and oblivious to the eternal. For instance, today’s Americans are obsessed with the care of their mortal bodies, but give little or no attention to the care of their immortal souls. Such a philosophy of life is the height of folly. Rather than living exclusively for the here-and-now, the Bible teaches the wisdom of preparing in this life for the here-after (Deuteronomy 32:29; Amos 4:12).
Garrison Keilllor once wrote a column about a conversation he overheard in a restaurant. Two men sitting at a table behind him were discussing one’s recent visit to the doctor. In spite of the doctor’s diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, the cancer victim was admonished by his lunching pal not to give up. “I’m not giving up,” the cancer sufferer asserted, “I’m just not as interested in my pension as I used to be.”
It’s funny how things lose their luster in the face of death. If you were promised a million dollars tomorrow, but also told that tomorrow would be your last day upon this earth, I dare say you wouldn’t be that excited about the million dollars. The luster of a million dollars would be tarnished by the thought of your untimely demise. Herein lies a great truth to live by; namely, anything that doesn’t hold its value in the face of death isn’t worth living for.
In 2011, make sure you live for things that hold their value in the face of death. By refusing to fill your arms with fleeting things and using them instead to embrace Christ and eternal things you can assure yourself of a new year well lived and well worth the living.