Sometimes the providence of God is especially kind. In the same week I was preparing for our 32nd sermon in our Genesis 1-11 series on Genesis 5:1-5, I received an email. Turned out to be a valuable sermon illustration. (I hope)
That was the subject line. And the first line of the email read in big bold letters:
RISK EVERYTHING, FEAR NOTHING & LIVE WITH NO REGRETS
As a pastor, I’m sort of used to getting emails with lines like this in them. I mean, that sort of sounds maybe a little Christian-esque doesn’t it? Maybe something you would receive from a missionary, preaching ministry, or maybe the tag line to a great new book.
And while the absence of the oxford comma certainly bugged me, it was what the email was really about that gripped me all the more. That made me pause for a moment and consider my own heart. That made me assess life in the “Bible-Belt”.
You see, this email wasn’t about Jesus. It wasn’t about His Kingdom. It wasn’t about the glory of God. It was about travel baseball for children.
The Reality of Death
I mentioned I was grateful for God’s kind providence in the email because I was preaching Genesis 5. And one of the things we see time and again in Genesis 5 is the Hebrew phrase וַיָּמֹֽת – “and he died.” Death reigns in Genesis 5 (with the exception of Enoch, but that’s for another post). Death is a reality in this fallen world. Adam died. Seth died. Enosh died. And even Methuselah, who lived for 969 years, eventually died.
And even if we could live for centuries like those in Genesis 5 did, death would come to us all too soon. Sooner than we were ready for. What regrets will you have about your short time on earth?
I’m not trying to ruin your day here but you are not going to live to be 969 years old. You may not even live to be 70 years old. And in reality, you’re not actually promised tomorrow. Death comes for us all.
So Many gods
Back to travel baseball. Risk everything. Fear nothing. Live with no regrets. Travel. Baseball. For children.
Every false god of this world asks you to sacrifice your all for it, but not every false god is so blatant. (Recently, we saw Michelle Williams with another blatant example in her sacrificing her child for a Golden Globe).
Risk everything. Fear nothing. Live with no regrets. So that your son may be an all American. Travel baseball consumes the lives of thousands of professing Christians as they forsake the local church in order to live vicariously through their children since tournaments like that aren’t really even about children anymore it seems.
Christians, have the gods of this world hijacked our purpose in Christ? Have they distracted us from the glory of eternal things? And it’s not just baseball of course. It’s basketball and football too. And it’s not just youth sports. It’s 401ks, or work, or fishing, or shopping, or television, or we could go on for hours here.
And so many profess to know Christ but their true allegiance are to the false gods of this world. One day they will hear Jesus say to them “Depart from me. I never knew you.”
Only One Life
In the words of CT Studd: “Only one life,’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. ”
The curse of death will happen to us all. And sooner than we are ready for. Oh, but living for Christ! There is eternal reward!
Yes, enjoy the good things of this world as good gifts from God. But enjoy them to the glory of God in Christ. Risk everything for the sake of Christ! Fear God and nothing else! And live with no regrets for the glory of God.
It’s amazing the number of years Adam had with his children and grandchildren. He almost lived to see Noah’s birth. Adam lived long enough to see 9 generations. That is amazing. But death still came. And, dear reader, you and I don’t have that same amount of time. And even if we did it would be too short to waste of the gods of this world.
I hope you can walk away from a post like this hungry to live a life that matters. How does this happen? It begins by recognizing who God is: the author and creator of life (see Genesis 5:1-2). He is the holy triune God of the universe, righteous and sovereign. He made us in His image and to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever.
We must see that Christ’s provision on the cross for our sins wasn’t so that we could live a godless autonomous life full of love for the world. It was to redeem us. And bring us to God that we may adore Him. That we may obey Him. That we may live our lives to the fullest in Him.
Are you trusting Christ in that way?
This sort of gospel mentality puts everything else into perspective. It makes everything else grow strangely dim in the light of Christ’s glory. I’m not asking you to feel guilty for not doing more or whatever. I’m trying to go much deeper than that. I’m trying to get us to see the grander picture of why life matters. God is the author of our lives and has given us this tremendous gift.
Will we regret the moments, the money, the effort, or the years we spent for service to Christ? Will we say we wish we would have loved Him less? Lived for Him less? Gave up less for Him? How might a gospel perspective on the meaning of life change your finances? Or your habits? Or your hobbies? Or your goals? Or the time with your children and grandchildren? How might it cause us to see all people differently since you know death will come to them too?
Jim Elliot once wrote, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” That is a life of no regrets. Rest your sins in King Jesus and seek His Kingdom. Risk everything. Fear nothing (except God!). And live with no regrets.