Thursday, March 3, 2016

Words to Live By

Once upon a time, a powerful Eastern monarch asked the wisest men in his court to give him a bit of wisdom in one sentence that would lift him up and encourage him when he suffered hardship and would bring him back down to reality when life was good and he felt arrogant.

The wise men mulled it over for weeks and finally came up with the answer. The king had the sentence engraved in his ring, which he wore everywhere he went--from throne to battlefield, to funerals when he lost loved ones to death, to his treasury when he counted his millions.

Each time the king read the inscription on his ring, curiosity soared among the citizenry. "What could it say?" they murmured among themselves.

Finally, after many years, the king died. Still desiring to discover the truth that had kept their king going all those years through all kinds of joys and sorrows, the citizens removed the ring from his finger and discovered the answer to their question.

Engraved in the gold they read,

"This too shall pass."

Yes, those words certainly give perspective to life's joys and sorrows.

One of my favorite phrases in the Bible, which is repeated frequently throughout the Gospels, is "And it came to pass." Nothing in this life comes to stay because this life is fleeting.

The psalmist wrote,

As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.
But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children's children,
To such as keep His covenants,
And to those who remember His commandments to do them.
Psalm 103:15-18, NKJV

Peter wrote that when the day of the Lord comes, even the heavens will pass away, the very elements themselves will disappear, and the earth and everything on it will be judged (see 2 Peter 3:10). Why then do we work so hard for earthly things that are destined to pass away?

Instead, Peter encourages Christians to "make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in [God's] sight" (v. 14).

During my childhood, I spent my summers with my missionary grandparents in Pelican, Alaska. In a prominent place on their wall hung a plaque which read,


This little poem has guided my life and influenced all of my choices, reminding me to live with eternity's values in view.

"This too shall pass." Yes, in terms of eternity, the things of this earth, both good and bad, are temporary. They will all pass away.

Only what we do for Christ has any lasting value. I want my life to count for eternity. How about you?

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