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Living a life that’s worthwhile

The story is told of three young boys who were out playing one day and they sat down on the creek bank, dangling their feet in the slow-moving water. One of them, with a note of pride in his voice, said “You know, when I’m good, my dad gives me $5!”

Not to be outdone, the second one said, “Well, that’s nothing! When I’m good, my dad gives me $10!!”

The words had hardly emerged from the young lad’s mouth when the third one burst out with “You guys are crazy! My dad says I’m good for nothing!!”

Quite a humorous anecdote, isn’t it?

But, sometimes I wonder how much our lives are really amounting to. It could be that getting “more mature” (older) has a way of putting things in more perspective; however, hopefully, this reality-check will occur while we’re still young.

Years ago I received an e-mail with a subject line that read “What’s in your dash?” At first, I didn’t have a clue about what the sender was asking. I thought he might be talking about what type things I had in the dash of my car (e.g., GPS, CD player, etc.). But, then I read the e-mail itself and realized there was much more to the question than met the eye.

He was talking about the hyphen that goes between one’s birth date and death date on a tombstone. And, what he was asking was “What difference will your life have made? Will your having lived on this earth have made a difference in anyone’s life?”

Pretty powerful, hard-hitting questions, aren’t they?

Yet, they aren’t intended to produce guilt within us; they’re asked to cause us to think and do an honest assessment of why we’re here and what we’re doing with what God’s given us.

Dear Reader, every one of us has some talent, gift or ability that’s uniquely ours. Sure, some folks have several of them; but, we shouldn’t be envious or jealous of them — for God will require them (and us) to give an accounting of what they did with those.

Instead of worrying about others, we ought to focus on who we are and what we’re doing here on terra firma. Even at its longest, life is incredibly short—especially in comparison to things like redwood trees, some turtles, lobsters, etc. That’s why we should make sure we’re investing our lives in those things that are important and will still be around after we’re gone.

And, I don’t know of anything any better than God’s Kingdom Work, which is eternal in nature and scope.

When I was 7 years old, I realized there was Someone Who loved me enough to die on a Cross for me. I was pretty lonely and feeling unloved at that age after our biological parents divorced and left us with some relatives. Even though we were adopted, I still had an “orphan’s attitude,” feeling like no one loved me.

But, that night at a revival service at a little country church in central Arkansas, all of that changed. When I heard the Story of Jesus … how He died on the Cross in my place … and then arose from the dead so I’d never have to face life alone again … I gave my heart to Him.

And, thankfully, I’ve never looked back.

There have been lots of ups-and-downs through the years. Lots of joys and sorrows. But, through them all the Heavenly Father has been faithful. He’s led me all around the world.

I’ve met people of all nationalities, colors and creeds; yet, even then, He told me to use what He’d given me for His Glory and others’ good, leaving the rest up to Him — which is what I’ve tried to do.

And, you know? I wouldn’t change anything.

I’ve had my share of regrets and stupid mistakes. I’ve done and said things that I shouldn’t have. But, I thank God that He never gave up on me and is still willing to use me in spite of me. The key is surrender and trust.

Here’s hoping you’ve also surrendered to Him. If so, you can rest assured that He’ll use you in ways you never could have imagined. If you’ve not yet surrendered to Him, there’s no better time that today. Here’s hoping you’ll do that, dear Reader — for life’s too short to squander and too precious to hoard. It’s meant to be shared.

Today’s the Day of New Beginnings. Isn’t it about time to get started?

To contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled “Morning Manna,” write him at P.O. Box 10614, Fort Smith, AR 72917 or e-mail him at pressingon@hotmail.com.

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