One Life to Live
The story goes like this.
Robert lived a very comfortable life. Beautiful wife. Two handsome boys. Nice house. Great car. Successful career. Throughout his adult life, Robert worked hard to enjoy the things that this world had to offer.
Robert was a Christian, though many would’ve been surprised to learn that bit of truth. It’s not that Robert live two lives, he just kept his faith private, never taking the opportunities to say so when they presented themselves.
Robert attended a wonderful church. It was an active church; participating in a number of outreach ministries. Missions, small groups, men’s and women’s ministries, children and youth ministries, local ministry with the soup kitchen, relief teams who responded to disasters, even an adoption support group for families who saw adoption as one of the greatest expressions of love. And of course there was the in-house ministries of care, praise and worship, media, drama, welcome and so forth. All great ways to share and experience life. But for Robert, these were the things that caused distraction.
You see, Robert lived by the lie that true success was defined by what people could see. He dedicated himself to his career. Because of that, Robert did well. He was successful, and the toys, vacations, and items of comfort that surrounded him served as a testimony to that success.
Robert lived a comfortable life. A good life. But as the years passed, Robert felt a growing void in his life. Even with all the success and happiness he experienced, he still felt like he was missing something. There was a certain joy that he saw when he looked at the lives of others from his church. Men and women with much less, yet seemingly happier then he was. He grew old, and eventually passed.
Robert stood before the pearly gates as St. Peter checked him in.
“Robert, welcome to heaven. Come on let me show you around.”
So Peter gave Robert the grand tour. Streets of gold, mansions, lions hanging out with lambs, the whole thing. Peter pointed out the various buildings and explained what they were. He talked about some of the people who were there and shared some stories about their lives.
Then they came to a very large building with no markings on it. The shear size of the structure caught Robert’s interest. An angel approached Peter with a message. The opportunity presented itself so while Peter wasn’t looking, Robert slipped inside of this enormous building.
Once inside, Robert saw that this building was like a warehouse. He saw isle upon isle of racks stacked tall with file boxes. Robert start walking down one of the isles and quickly discovered that each box had a name on it. For some names there were multiple boxes. For others only one or two.
Robert wondered if there was a box with his name on it. So seeing that the files were in alphabetical order, he set out to find his name. After a few minutes of looking Robert found his file box. And under his name, he found many, many boxes. His curiosity was sparked, what was in these boxes, and why were there soo many.
He took a box down and looked inside. He found folders labeled and filled. Headings such as small group, filled with pictures of people from his church. Mission trip to Haiti, with pictures of kids and adults. Welcome ministry, with more pictures of people. Bible study, with pictures of some of the guys he worked with at the office.
Robert didn’t understand. Folder upon folder, each labeled with an activity or church related title, each with pictures of people he knew along with people he didn’t know. And why we’re there so many boxes.
Suddenly, Robert heard footsteps. It was Peter. Robert asked, “What is this place? And what are all these boxes filled with files of pictures?”
Peter said, “This is the Warehouse of Life Wasted.”
“What you see around you are boxes filled with opportunities that people have missed out on. For instance, that folder you’re holding marked bible study. That was a bible study you could have led during your lunch hour with some guys you work with.”
Robert said, “But I never led a bible study at work.”
“Correct. That’s why this is the Warehouse of Life Wasted. These folders represent the life that God wanted you to live, that you missed out on. And judging by the amount of boxes with your name on them, it looks like you missed out on a lot of what God had planned for you.”
What are you living for?
What are you living for? What defines how you live? What are you doing to experience life?
Jesus shared a story once that challenged people to think about life and how it’s lived. In the gospel of John, in the 10th chapter, the 10th verse, Jesus makes this statement.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Jesus says there are two forces at work. Two people who come with a mission. The first he calls the thief. What’s the mission of the thief? Destruction. The thief has one thing on his mind, to destroy life.
Jesus says this thief has set a goal, he wants to ruin life. He wants to steal away opportunities. He wants to kill the desires to do more. He wants to destroy the life you were created to live.
How does he do that? By filling our heads with the lies of pride, power, and prestige.
But I, I have come, Jesus says, I have come that they may have life, and life to the full.
The mission that Christ came with was a mission of life. But not just life, he wants us to have life to it’s full.
What does that mean?
Well that is what I want us to consider over these next couple of weeks. What does Jesus mean when he says that he brings life? And what does it mean to live that life to the full? How do we break free of the sinful life that entangles us? How do we live the life that produces fruit, brings real joy, and glorifies the Father?
I believe that God gives us a look at what life was suppose to look like. A couple thousand years ago, life was the way God wanted to be. But a lie and man’s pride, destroyed that life.
The garden was a picture of life to the fullest. The man and the woman without shame, living in the perfect place and experiencing a perfect and intimate relationship with God. That is the life that God intended for us to live. But the thief came and stole all that away, destroying the relationship and killing the life that was given.
Since then, that thief has waged war against the creator and his creation. And life has suffered.
But Jesus brings new life.
What are you living for?
Are you buying into the lies of the thief? Or are you living with the hope of life that Jesus Christ offers?
You see, there are two lives that you could live. You could choose to waste your life, or you could choose to live your live to the fullest.
I heard a great quote from an unlikely source. The Christian rapper, Trip Lee, in an interview said, “(Doing) anything separated from Jesus Christ is a waste of our lives.”
Think about that. Anything (we do that is) separate from what Jesus wants is simply living a wasted life.
We have one live to life. One chance to be the person God created us to be. One chance to do the things that God created us do. One change to touch the lives of the people God has put into our lives. There are no do overs. No second chances. No tomorrow’s. One life to live.
Robert discovered that truth a little to late in life. It didn’t take long for Him to understand. The file boxes filled with folders and pictures, these were the opportunities that bring real joy to a persons life. These were the things Jesus speaks of when he says, “and to have it to the full.”
That void he felt when he was alive? That was the life he was missing out on. The life of relationships, service, worship, growth, and sharing. All of it stolen away by the thief’s lies. Robert missed out on the life God wanted him to have because he was too busy building a life that he thought he should have. Now among the folders and pictures, Robert realizes all he missed, and the life he wasted, simply because he gave into the lie.
Don’t be a Robert. Don’t waste your life because of a lie.
Where are you right now? Are you living the life that God desires you to live, or you feeling a void? Do you feel like something missing, that there’s something more than what this world has to offer?
Jesus Christ offers something that fills that void. He offers himself. Jesus Christ laid his life down that we might experience real life, eternal life, a life that isn’t wasted, but lived to its full.
These next four weeks, as we prepare for Easter, I want us as a church to consider the meaning of Christ’s statement, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. We get One Life to Live, let’s not waste it.