how to make your your life and the the world a better place.
3/01/2006 05:27:00 PM
Okay, so the tag line sounds like a gimmick-- a self help book subtitle or a spam email message trying to get you to buy some sort of miracle diet pill. The reality is though, that this isn't a gimmick, but something that is completely serious and real.

I cannot make any assumptions where you are from or what you have experienced. The only assumption that I can make is that you can read, and that implies you are a person. As a person, you are born and will some day die. In the interim, you live life, day in and day out, toiling to stay alive so you can live on.

You may enjoy this routine. Your life may be completely peachy, and you don't have any worries. You have everything you want, maybe even excess. You like what you do for a living, or maybe you don't have to make a living. You seem to have it altogether, and you don't have a care in the world. If this is you, then stop reading now. I envy you and you are the envy of everyone on the planet. But if this is not you, read on.

A reality of life is that it is hard. Even those of us who have it relatively easy still have it hard. I am an American, and with my eyes have seen people who toil the land 7 days a week to have something to eat. I go to the fridge, get something out, and nuke it. Compared to the farmer, I have it made. But I still have struggles, shortcomings, and problems and would be lying if I said I didn't.

To make matters worse, I mess up quite often. I will never do everything right all the time. I lie, cheat, steel, gossip, slander, ravage, exploit, lust, etc. etc. etc. All these things only entrench me further into the state of decay. To err is human. It's a universal problem to mess up -- even the best people.

Although life is hard and as people we are inherently screwed up, we keep on living. We toil day in and day out trying to hold on to life, when ultimately we end up in the grave. All we are doing by toiling is delaying the inevitable. It would seem logical to stop toiling and let the inevitable take its course, or even expedite the process. Yet we keep on.

The irony though is we toil even harder to make things better. We are always trying to make life easier through invention, or trying to better ourselves through education, or trying to accumulate more so we will seem more comfortable. We try and make wrong right. Maybe you don't try and do this, but rather you do just enough to get by. You do just enough today to get you through today, so you can do it again tomorrow. You think what happened in the past is the past and nothing can change it. Either way though, you still die, and you leave education, invention, and wealth -- any gain no matter how big or small behind never to see or hear from it again. It seems nothing we do makes the world a better place or stops death from running its course.

One of the wisest men to ever live in his old age said that such things are vanity. The writes his memoirs recounting how he tried wealth, wisdom, and women, all which left him empty. He said they were all vanity, like one chasing after the wind. The image of chasing the wind is such a wonderful analogy. You can't see the wind, nor can you hold it. You know it's there, but you can't capture it. You could spend your life chasing it, and it will continually evade you forever, leaving you empty handed.

Admittedly, this sounds incredibly pessimistic. But if somebody can show me were I am wrong on this, I would gladly recant, but I don't think that is possible. You may be asking then "If things are so bad and nothing we can do will make them better, then how can I possibly make my life and the world a better place?" I'm glad you asked.

If we as human being live in perpetual cycle of toil and decay, and there is nothing we can do to break that cycle, then it only seems logical that the only way to break the cycle is for something external to enter in and do so. This is exactly what happened 2000 years ago.

In order to break the cycle of death and decay, there has to be something that rectifies the wrong that has been done and outlive the decay in the process. This was accomplished in the life of Jesus. When Jesus died on the cross, he died a natural death just like every other human being. His body began to decay. He was put in a tomb where dead people are laid. Jesus however, did not stay dead. He died on a Friday, and the following Sunday, he resurrected from the dead. Because Jesus resurrected, he conquered death, thus breaking the cycle of death and decay. By now, you are probably thinking, this is all pretty fanciful stuff. I grant that it does, but there are few historians who deny that Jesus did rise from the dead. Because of the overwhelming evidence that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead, many historians cede that fact, but try and to reinterpret the significance of the event. However, the disciples--those closest to Jesus--understood what this meant. This single event revolutionized their lives, and made them zealous for his cause.

What made their lives to revolutionary was not that their friend had been raised back to life, but that because their friend had been raised back to life, they too would experience the same resurrection. This instilled in them hope, and they didn't fear death. In fact, most of them counted death as gain, because they knew that life didn't end at the grave. This is what Jesus meant when he said "eternal life". Life doesn't stop when your body physically dies, but goes on forever.

With full knowledge of this resurrection, these men and women went forth, telling others how they too could experience life. One by one, people experienced this new life. This local movement turned into an international phenomenon, and it continues even until today.

You are probably wondering how this all works. It's quite simple really. I stated earlier that it takes something external entering into the system to break the perpetual cycle of death and decay and that there is nothing you or I can do to stop it, because we are part of the cycle. Rather than trying to break the cycle ourselves, we let Jesus do it. This is done by letting him save you from death. You simply accept his offer, which is to believe that he can, and rest in that. You don't have to do anything, other than believe. Jesus takes care of the rest.

Because there is hope for something eternal, not temporal, there is something worth living for that is not vanity. The sage I mentioned earlier said that all was vain, except one thing, and that is to fear God. He writes his discourse, and concludes it with a statement, "Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." Fearing God doesn't mean being afraid of God, but to heed to God, or in other words trust what he says is true. Jesus being God incarnate gave two commands on which all other commands rest: Love God and Love Others.

By doing the latter you can change your world. How we love others is broad, but there are two parts to it. One part you are probably familiar with, and that is service to fellow man. Most people would consider this part enough to change the world. But service to fellow man is temporal, and not lasting. It, like the all things, left to its self is vain. The second part is to tell them how they too can experience deliverance from death and decay through Jesus. Jesus offer is universal, and anyone who accepts it will live forever. One day they too will be resurrected into a new life without the trappings of this life. This is hope worth living for. If you continually share Jesus with people, then the world could be radically changed about you.

What this does not mean though is that this world is entirely bad. In fact, the same sage I mentioned before says that it is okay to enjoy what we do have here. If we work for a living, then we deserve to enjoy the fruits of our labor. If we learn, we enjoy wisdom. If we lead, we should leave wisely. Jesus never intended for those he rescues from death and decay to check out the moment they accept his offer, but to continue until their lives here are spent, and while they are here to tell others how they to can be saved.

This doesn't answer all the questions in life, and something remain always remain unanswered. There are mysteries that men have been contemplating for eons, yet nobody seems to be able to solve them. Jesus didn't come here to answer our questions, but to provide us with hope. And a hope worth living for is worth not having all the answers.

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