Please Stop and Ponder

by Steven Chan

As we live our busy lives from day to day, it will do us well to consider some realities that may help us choose how we think and how we spend our money, time and effort.

1. Our life is short and we do not have a guarantee of being alive tomorrow.

”Come now, ye that say, To-day or to-morrow we will go into this city, and spend a year there, and trade, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. What is your life? For ye are a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall both live, and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15) “For, All flesh is as grass, And all the glory thereof as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower falleth” (I Pet 1:24).

2. We may be called back by our Maker at anytime – whether at a young tender age or at full age of threescore and ten.

”But God said unto him, Thou foolish one, this night is thy soul required of thee; and the things which thou hast prepared, whose shall they be? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God”.(Luke 12:20-21)

3. When (not if) we are called back, we will be required by God to give an account of our lives.

”So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.”(Rom 14:12) “For we must all be made manifest before the judgment-seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the fear of the Lord, we persuade men…”(2 Cor 5:10-11a). That’s why the wise man Solomon counseled: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”(Ecc 12:13-14) “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27)

4. Depending on how God judges the account of our lives, every one of us will spend eternity in one of two places.

“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal”. (Matt 25:46) “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire”(Rev 20:15). The account concerning the rich man and the beggar, Lazarus, following their deaths, reminds us of the two contrasting destinies: “And he (i.e. the rich man) cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented” (Luke 16:24-25).

5. But God loves us all and desires none of us spend eternity in the place of torment but in a place where “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain” (Rev 21:4). Isn’t heaven a wonderful place?

”But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from the wrath of God through him.”(Rom 5:8-9). “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”(2 Pet 3:9) God waits to welcome us into the wonderful home prepared for us in heaven: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt 25:34).

6. Jesus has overcome death and through His sacrifice, he is able to redeem us from death and give us eternal life. If we will accept the gift of salvation from God made possible by His grace (Eph 2:8-9) by becoming His disciples/followers, then we will become children of God and saved from the place of torment.

“But hath now been manifested by the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim 1:10).  “Since then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, He also Himself in like manner partook of the same; that through death He might bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver all them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb 2:14-15).  “Who his own self bare our sins in his body upon the tree, that we, having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed”. (1 Pet 2:24) “Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Cor 5:21)

”Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy begat us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,” (1 Pet 1:3-4)

“Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”(Matt 28:19-20) “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned.” (Mark 16: 15-16)

7. As we have been purchased by Jesus with His own blood, we now belong to Him and we are required to be faithful disciples of Christ by doing His will.

”knowing that ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers; but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, even the blood of Christ:” (I Pet 1:18-19) ”Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own; for ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body.”(1 Cor 6:19-20) “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.”(Matt 7:21)

8. As followers of Christ, we need to live transformed lives (different from that of the world) so that we may present our bodies as a living sacrifice to Him.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God”. (Rom 12:1-2). “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.”(Gal 2:20).

Knowing the above facts, are we living our lives as God desires of us? Or, have we ignored God/His Will or rejected Him and returned to living our lives as we please – without any regard or with very little regard to doing His will?

The Bible warns us: “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the last state is become worse with them than the first. For it were better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment delivered unto them. It has happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog turning to his own vomit again, and the sow that had washed to wallowing in the mire.”(2 Pet 2:2-22).

“Not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day drawing nigh. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which shall devour the adversaries.”(Heb 10:25-27)

I hope that we will stop momentarily from the busyness of our lives, and ponder on whether we are truly doing God’s will and pleasing Him in all aspects of our lives? Will we be comfortable in giving an account of our lives to God – that we have been His faithful servants? Can we say with the apostle Paul: “the time of my departure is come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give to me at that day; and not to me only, but also to all them that have loved his appearing”? (2 Tim 4:6-8).

Or will we find ourselves in the same position as the rich man in Luke 12:16-21 and 16:19-31 or those in Matt 7:23 to whom the Lord said: “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity”?

Let’s be reminded that our time here on earth is short but eternity is forever. Are we prepared to face God and eternity? Heaven awaits those who are prepared to go there.