March 12, 2014
Dear Linwood Family and Friends,
“Life is not about how many years you live, but what you get out of those years.” – What do you think about that? Do you agree?
For years I have thought that TV commercials for auto dealerships were among the most obnoxious of all advertisements. Why in the world would I buy a car from some middle-aged guy in a cowboy hat who is screaming something about practically giving cars away? Bill was a member of the first church I served in Cincinnati. He owned a car dealership, and was a great, devoted Christian gentleman. But when I saw him on TV he was “Wild Bill”!
Some dealerships have now decided to part from the old routine. I saw such an ad the other day. It began with some thought provoking statements about “life.” These pronouncements concluded, “Life is not about how many years you live, but what you get out of those years.” Then the punch line was “Life is tough; car buying shouldn’t be.”
I appreciate the departure from the loud mouth, crazy fool that is just waiting for me to take advantage of him. However, in an attempt to be significant, I believe that this ad placed before us a good example of the profound difference between the worldview of our culture and our worldview as Christians.
“Life is not about how many years you live, but what you get out of those years.” What is wrong with that? A lot!
Consider this. Should we…
- Choose a job or a career for what it will provide for us…or
- Choose a job or career based on how our gifts and abilities could be used to benefit others?
- Get married because of what we will get out of it…or
- Marry someone because we want to give our life away to him or her?
- Have children because of the fulfillment we hope to feel being a parent…or
- Have children because we want to give ourselves to them so that they become responsible, faithful adults?
- Join an organization or club because of how it will benefit us…or
- Become a part of organizations where we can join with others in making a difference in the world in places and ways that we care about deeply?
- Select a church to attend because of what it will do for us or our family…or
- Unite with a church because we want to give ourselves to the work the Lord has entrusted to it?
- Follow Jesus because of what He will do for us…or
- Do we follow the Lord because we want most of all to serve and honor Him?
The first priority of our lives is not to get, but to give.
It begins with our creation. We are created in God’s image – meaning we were created to reflect the character and glory of God and to join with Him in caring for and developing His creation. Does that mean that we were created to just be God’s “worker bees”? Not at all. We were created with the potential of being the earthly representatives of the God of the Universe! We were created to partner with God in the care and cultivation of the incredible world that He has fashioned. In other words, we are fashioned – to give ourselves to God and to the work of His Kingdom.
Does this just mean that we are constantly emptying ourselves? YES! But when we empty ourselves God also fills us! Life is about both giving and receiving. God designed it that way. But, most of the time it works far better when the giving comes first.
When we one day stand before God in eternity, He is not going to be asking us “How much did you get out of life?” Instead the question is far more likely to be “How well did you give yourself to those I placed around you?”
I don’t fault the auto dealer and the ad company that put together the commercial. They were accurately reflecting the wisdom of our culture. They were voicing what, to many, is common sense. “You only go around once. Get out of life all that you can!”
Scripture often calls for more than common sense. Turning the other check is not common sense. Loving your enemies is not common wisdom. Losing your life in order to find it is not being smart. Salvation through sacrifice is nonsensical.
The call in Christ is a call beyond human understanding. It is absolutely radical. And, Jesus promises, it is a call that leads us to life in all its fullness!
The Linwood 2014 season is closer now than it has ever been before!
Blessings in Christ
Hu Auburn, Linwood Park Pastor
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