The story is told of a wealthy man who wanted to be buried sitting in the seat of his fancy sports car. At the funeral, as a crane lifted the car with the man into a huge grave, an impressed onlooker supposedly commented, “That’s Living!”
That’s funny, since the man was dead. The deceased man had no idea what was happening to his empty body once he stepped out of this life. He had much more to worry about in facing God than in the opinions of people left behind.
The comment, however, reveals a false understanding of life. It sees ‘living’ as owning an enviable asset and having plenty of money to splash around. The Bible tells us that life is not made of our possessions.
“Beware, and keep yourselves from all covetousness; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15
Materialism suggests to us that our happiness, meaning and hope are found in the things we possess. Our consumer world relies on people thinking that spending money on something new is a key to their happiness.
An honest look at the world can quickly reveal that thinking as a lie. There are people in restaurants, eating lovely meals, who are distracted with unhappiness, offence, shame or a bunch of other unwanted things. There are people whose homes are filled with all the latest things, but also filled with strife, regret, disappointment and so on. There are people who fly in private jets and holiday in the most exotic places, who are unhappy and unfulfilled.
Years ago my wife and I were dinner guests at a fancy resort in Africa. While there we met a couple who were going from one fancy resort to another over many months. They were enjoying treats most people never have access to. Yet they were empty and bored, as if existing rather than living.
Let me suggest that you and your family most likely have wrong concepts of what it is to be truly living. The world points you to self-indulgence, materialism, self-will and climbing over others to attain the best in life. However, Christ teaches us to lay down our life and love others.
Christ told us there is no gain even in owning the whole world, if we lose our soul.
“What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:26
Christ taught that it is better to be a giver than a receiver.
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35
“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be handed to you. For how you measure out will be how it is measured back to you.” Luke 6:38
Christ taught that people would do all they could to get the most out of life and end up missing out.
“For whoever tries to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” Luke 9:24
Materialistic living focuses on what we want and what we think will make us happy. It is self-focused. However the very basis of our walk with God is that we focus on God first and others second.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. And love your neighbour as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 23:30,31
I wonder what the man buried in his sports car had to say when he met God. I wonder how God would have evaluated the ‘life’ of such a man. Would Jesus have looked on and said, “That’s Living!”? Or would the Lord have shaken His head at a wasted life?
Rather than seeking to indulge our own sense of importance and our own ideas of what might be fun, we are instructed to seek the good of God’s Kingdom.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all the other things you need will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
Note that God is not against us having blessings and possessions, but in wisdom we know that our life is not made up from those things. We don’t love them and live for them. If we fall in love with this world and its clutter of desirable things we miss out on God’s love taking effect in our lives.
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1John 2:15
When we please the Lord we not only have His presence and blessing in this life, but we get to enjoy Him forever. God promises us eternal life, which is both a life that is unending, but also the God quality of life.
“To those who by patience in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, he will give eternal life” Romans 2:7
“And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, who you have sent.” John 17:3
Friends, God wants you to live in God’s presence, experiencing glories that are beyond human comprehension, as God’s child for eternity, forgiven, transformed and blessed beyond understanding. And let me assure you, “That’s Living!”