Do you remember the story of the rich fool in our Lord’s parable in Luke 12? According to verse 13 of that chapter, a man approached Jesus one day saying, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus responded with a warning, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”
To illustrate the point, Jesus told the story of a certain rich man whose farms yielded abundantly for several years. The successful farmer kept building more barns to hoard his wealth, and he thought he was set for life. He said to himself, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”
But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be?” Jesus concluded His story by saying: “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:19-20).
More Than Just Today
We shouldn’t just live for today, because today doesn’t last very long. We mustn’t just live for the moment, because the moments are fleeting. How we invest our time, energy, labor, and money either guarantees or nullifies our legacy.
Life is short. It’s a vapor that appears for a moment, and then vanishes. Hoarding our resources isn’t a worthy goal. We’re created with eternity in our hearts, and our lives have everlasting value. When we live with eternity in view, our works will follow us and we’ll leave a heritage.
Here are some ways to help along the process:
Take every opportunity to sow the seed of the Gospel. When the Lord is finished with us, He’ll take us to heaven. But until then, there’s a message to share. We may not see many of the results, but we can faithfully sow the seed.
Do all the good you can do. The Bible assures us that as we feed the hungry, visit the incarcerated, care for the poor, and provide for widows and orphans, we’re doing it as to Jesus. These simple acts of kindness are eternal deeds of Christlikeness that procure heavenly rewards (Matthew 25:40).
Give liberally to the work of the Kingdom. George Sweeting, former president of Moody Bible Institute, said, “When we come to the end of life, the question will be ‘How much have you given?’ not ‘How much have you gotten?’”
Engage in a ministry of prayer. Don’t just pray for your own temporal needs but for eternal progress in the work of God’s kingdom.
Leave a written testimony for your descendants. Many of us have prepared a legal will, but some people are also learning to prepare “legacy wills.” The idea comes from Genesis 49, when Jacob left his sons with his “spiritual estate.” He passed on his blessings, wisdom, and advice to his children. We can do the same.
A visiting American pastor was privileged to preach in the Calaba Baptist Church of Bombay, India, in 1941. That day, the church’s pastor baptized an Indian woman at the close of the service. The visiting American encouraged him after the service, saying, “Congratulations on the baptism of your convert tonight.”
“Ah,” said the preacher, “She’s not my convert. She’s Adoniram Judson’s convert.”
“Well,” he said, “that’s not possible. Adoniram Judson lived over a hundred years ago more than one thousand miles away from here. How could she be Adoniram Judson’s convert?”
“That’s true,” he said, “but the woman I baptized tonight fell into the company of some women from that city where Judson did so much suffering in the last century. These women are descendants of people who were influenced by the incomparable life and outstanding witness of Judson. The woman I baptized tonight fell into their company, and after a few days she herself became a believer. So you see, she’s Judson’s convert!”
Our days are numbered, and we’re moving quickly from today to tomorrow. All our pleasures and possessions are consigned to oblivion, but the legacy we leave for Christ will endure forever. “This one life will soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”
Let’s not waste a single day. Live with eternity in mind!
The greatest love poem ever written is 1 Corinthians 13, the Bible’s love hymn:
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,
I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
This poem counts the ways in which we love others. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul said, “This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience; it looks for a way of being constructive. It is not possessive: it is neither anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance. Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. It is not touchy. It does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails” (Phillips).
If you want to commit this chapter to memory and begin practicing it, it helps to break it down into its three main sections.Hope for the Future
While many look to the government, material possessions, drugs, or pleasure, they quickly find that these only lead to temporary distractions on a lifelong quest for happiness.
Never have so many people been so unhappy as they are today. Perhaps the true source of despair and hopelessness among many people today is simply the recognition that life isn’t what it ought to be. Some of the things that promised them satisfaction and joy have not delivered on the promise.
One thing I can tell you for certain is you can’t live very long without hope. Hope is a main ingredient in life. It is the very core of who you are and your existence as a person.
Psalm 146 is called one of the hallelujah psalms, meaning they “praise the Lord.” And the hallelujah psalm in Psalm 146 portrays a wonderful picture of hope. It is an invitation to those who know despair all too well. It presents and opportunity to take another look at the hope that can only be found in God.
Let’s work through this psalm together on three key points, all of them leading to the One who can and will provide.Gain to Lose?
Many people today seek happiness and fulfillment in possessions and pleasure and power and popularity—fleeting riches and temporal satisfactions, but at what cost? Sadly, for many in our culture, materialism has become their god.
This desire for temporal things is in direct contradiction to our Lord’s counsel to His disciples when He said: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26)
During his ministry, Jesus demonstrated His identity through messages and miracles. He wanted His disciples to understand that He was the Messiah, the Promised Deliverer. He preached with great authority—He healed the sick and even raised the dead. He quoted Old Testament prophecies and fulfilled the requirements of the Law. His presence was electrifying to the people of Israel, but even His own family was confused about His identity.
At that critical moment, Jesus took a break from the crowds and led His disciples on a backpacking expedition to the regions of Mount Hermon. There, alone with the Twelve and after months of instruction, He gave them a final exam recorded for us in Matthew 16:13-20. It consisted of two questions.
If someone asked you to describe Jesus, how would you answer? Would you find it easy or challenging? Today, Dr. David Jeremiah considers several different descriptions of Jesus provided by Christ Himself.All Sermons by Dr. David Jeremiah