I’m proud of you, you know …


““I’m proud of you, you know,” she said. “You know what they say about a life that’s wasted. You’re living proof that it’s never too late.” These words caught Grant off guard. “What did you say about a life that’s wasted?” “You know, that saying . . . ‘A life that is wasted is not truly lived,’ ” she recited.”

          from “Fearless (Dominion Trilogy Book #2)” by Robin Parrish

 

A life that is wasted is not truly lived,

 In a way, this sounds so obvious.  But if you really look at it, it’s so profound!

God, who created us and gave us life, wants us to truly live.
And if we truly live, we will not waste the life He gave us.

The order there is of critical importance.  It’s not like He gave us a wasted life – or gave us life with the intention that we waste it.  Quite the opposite.  He gave life to Adam and Eve – and they chose to waste it.  Jesus talks about little children many times in the Gospels.  He said we need to become like them.  Think about that. We enter the world as children, full of possibilities.  As we grow, we’re taught, essentially, how to waste our lives.  Jesus tells us that we need to become like we were as children, again.  That we way won’t waste our lives.

Let’s look as some of His examples on how to “live life”.  A life that’s full – not wasted.

The Shepherd and His Flock

Jn 10:1 “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. 3 The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.
Jn 10:7 Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Jn 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.”

 We get to the point right away here, when Jesus says – I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  We see that just as Adam and Eve fell for the words of the serpent – we, somewhere along the line, begin to fall under the spell of the thief.  We move away from Jesus.  If we really want that full life – one that’s not wasted – we need to return to Jesus.  We know His voice.  All we need to do is follow Him.  Of course, that’s easier said than done.

The Temptation of Jesus

4:1-11 pp — Mk 1:12, 13; Lk 4:1-13

Mt 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Mt 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’’”

One of the enticements of the devil is that everything we need is available right here with the things of this earth.  Bread will satisfy the minimum requirements, especially when we’re hungry and tired.  Then – there’s all sorts of riches and pleasures available.  More than we could ever know what to do with.  But they lead to a wasted life, because they also lead away from Jesus.  Every word that comes from the mouth of God – that’s what we need as a minimum.  After we have that – we will truly know His voice and will be able to follow Him to things so much beyond the riches and pleasures of the earth.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Lk 10:25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Lk 10:26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
Lk 10:27 He answered: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’’”
Lk 10:28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
Lk 10:29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Lk 10:30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
Lk 10:36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
Lk 10:37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Here’s an example of following Jesus.  Those who follow the thief, who look out for themselves – they’re the ones who walk by the man who was beaten and robbed.  They can’t be bothered to take the time to help him.  You need to understand, if you don’t already know, that the Samaritan would be a person very much hated in the society of that time.  He was part Jew, and part Gentile (non-Jewish).  Because of his parents – he’s a total outcast.  That Samaritan, not the “proper” people who are looked up to – he’s the one who helped the man in need of assistance.  If we’re not too selfish to ignore the opportunities presented to us, it feels good to help people.  And you never know who you’ll meet.

Jesus Heals the Official’s Son

Jn 4:43 After the two days he left for Galilee. 44 (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) 45 When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, for they also had been there.
Jn 4:46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.
Jn 4:48 “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
Jn 4:49 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
Jn 4:50 Jesus replied, “You may go. Your son will live.”
The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour.”
Jn 4:53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and all his household believed.
Jn 4:54 This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus performed, having come from Judea to Galilee.

The royal official here was likely someone in the service of King Herod.  Herod was the “King of the Jews” – at least in name / title.  He did so many horrible things to the Jewish people and ignored (maybe better stepped all over would be better) the Jewish laws.  And yet – here was an official of the King’s, asking Jesus to heal his son.  This is the flip side of what we just saw with the Samaritan.  With the Samaritan – it was the hated person who helped someone.  This time, it’s Jesus helping the hated person.  And as a result, the official and all of his household became believers.

Life Through the Son

Jn 5:16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. 17 Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” 18 For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
Jn 5:19 Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
Jn 5:24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. 25 I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

Now we get to the real point of truly living – not living a wasted life.  “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”  It’s bad enough wasting a life in the traditional sense – between the time we’re born and the time our heart stops beating.  But when we truly live, when we believe Jesus and life the life He intended for us, we also receive the next life spent with Him in the Kingdom of God.  That points to the real goal of the serpent, / the thief  Satan – to take that eternity with Jesus away from us.  In return, we get an eternity in Hell with Satan.  That’s a wasted life.  An eternally wasted life.

Jesus Comforts the Sisters

Jn 11:17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
Jn 11:21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jn 11:23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Jn 11:24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jn 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Jn 11:27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”

Again, we see the point emphasized.  Truth is, Martha didn’t really get it here.  The scene continues for quite some time, so I encourage you to follow the link if you’re not familiar with it.

You’re living proof that it’s never too late.”

There’s a subtle, but very important, assumption built into that line

The important thing is the part about living proof, because once we die (the heart stops beating kind of die) – it really is too late.

Remember this line from Jesus – “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

Our decision must be made before this moment.  Once we die physically, we can no longer make any choices – we’re dead.  No more opportunity for any “living proof” that it’s never to late – because the choice can only be made when we are in fact, alive.  Here’s the Biblical example of someone who waited until the last moment –

Lk 23:39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
Lk 23:40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Lk 23:42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’”
Lk 23:43 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

This is the “living proof”.  One of these men on the cross with Jesus decided to reject Him.  The other decided to acknowledge and accept Him.  One went to eternity in Heaven.  The other didn’t.  At the last moment.

Yes – they didn’t do much with their lives when they were living in the traditional sense.  But one didn’t do anything at all with his life in any sense of the word “life”, while the other one wasted pretty much all of his traditional life, but will spend eternity in Heaven.

There is, of course, a catch here.  We never know when the last moment will come.  I was in a car accident a couple years ago where I had less than a second before knowing I was going to be hit.  The young lady who hit me got out of her car and was just staring at my car in the middle of the street.  I don’t now what she had been thinking – she pulled away from a stop sign at a little cross street and just plowed right into me, while I was driving on a major road with no stop sign.  People were amazed that I walked away without even a scratch or a bruise – not even a little sore.  I was the first to speak – asking if she was OK.  
The point is, if we decide to wait – like maybe we want to have fun first and commit to Jesus later – there might not be a later.  “Life”, in the traditional sense, could end at any time.

The other consideration is the kind of traditional life we live.  The reward isn’t just eternity in Heaven.  It’s also quite rewarding to be like the Samaritan – helping other people.  Maybe it’s literally like that man.  Maybe it’s like what I do – writing and teaching.  Maybe it’s like volunteering at your church.  or, if you’re not in a church (yet?) at a Christian based organization where you can get to know others who are living the more full life that Jesus tells us about.  There are lots of possibilities to choose from.  Any of them will get you started on the path to knowing Jesus, walking with other people who know Him.

I’m proud of you, you know,

This is what I want to hear when my traditional sense of the word life is over, and I’ve crossed over to my eternal destiny.

The Parable of the Talents

25:14-30 Ref—Lk 19:12-27

Mt 25:14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
Mt 25:19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’
Mt 25:21 “His master replied, ’Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Yes – this is what I want to hear.  This is what’s said. by God, of a live well lived.  And remember – well lived means for any portion of our lives.  Forgiveness for the wasted parts is available, as long as we don’t miss the opportunity – and as long as we really mean it.  

I have to say though, I’ve often wondered of the people who decide to consciously wait and pursue the life of earthly riches and pleasure with an intention of believing in Jesus at some point later in their lives – do they really mean it when they ask forgiveness, or are they just hoping against hope that merely the words are “good enough”?

 

“I’m proud of you, you know,” she said. “You know what they say about a life that’s wasted. You’re living proof that it’s never too late.”

You’re reading this, so it’s obviously not to late.  Yet.

If you haven’t already chosen to do like the second man on the cross with Jesus, and acknowledge that Jesus is God –
what are you waiting for?

Eventually, it will be too late.

Please – don’t let that happen to you.  Or to your family.  Or to your friends.


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