I celebrated my 57th birthday this week. Last year around this time I was not well and was later diagnosed with TB. I’m truly grateful to God that because timely medical care was given, I was able to celebrate another birthday with family and friends. The ability to breathe in deeply and fill my lungs with fresh air again feels amazingly good. Life is full of challenges. Problems often come unannounced and we are generally ill-prepared when they come. However we take courage because we are God’s children and His grace is sufficient for us. I’ve learned to abandon myself to God under all circumstances and not to be overly anxious or unduly worried. Worries and anxieties robbed us of our sleep, peace, health and well-being. Hence it is important that we keep our worries under control by placing our trust in God and not lose heart. Bear in mind that while problems are inevitable, worries are optional!!
Life is a gift from God, treasure it and live it well because someday like dust we will return to the earth, Eccl 12: 7. I would like to share a thought gleaned from Scriptures which is to exchange our lives for something worthwhile. This thought is also beautifully discussed in Edmund Chan’s book ‘Growing deep in faith’. Singaporeans are known for being ‘kiasu’. We all enjoy good bargains, great offers and unbelievable discounts. But are we also getting a good bargain for our lives? There are 3 things we can do with our lives. We can squander it; we can spend it or we can invest it. Like it or not we all exchange our lives for something however, not all exchanges are worthwhile when seen in the light of eternity.
Adam and Eve traded eternal paradise for the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 3:1-6). In a moment of hunger Esau exchanged his birthright for a bowl of red stew (Gen 25: 31-33). In a moment of weakness, Samson exchanged his renowned strength for a scheming woman, Delilah (Judges 16:18-20). In a moment of lust, David exchanged his godliness for adultery (2Sam 11:2-4). Ananias and Sapphira exchanged their lives for false spirituality (Acts 5:1-10).
What are we exchanging our lives for? Some of us exchange our lives for a career, sacrificing spiritual growth and the family for career advancement. It is not wrong to be a diligent worker or to do well at work. But when we honestly examine our hearts, we may find that our primary motivation is deceptively different. For many, career spells money. The desire for wealth and power, which is rooted in covetousness and pride, often dominates our private agenda.
Perhaps it is time we take stock and re-examine our priorities. Perhaps some things in our lives are not necessary, not helpful and self serving. Some may prefer an easy life. They prefer to cruise on auto-pilot, along the paths of least resistance in life. When God examine our hearts, will He find laziness and a lack of convictions? If we are not committed to anything our discipleship will reflect that. Is ours a discipleship of convenience or one of conviction? To grow spiritually, we must be willing to pay the price of discipleship to Christ. What if we’ve already traded our lives for the wrong things? If it is something that the Bible says is sin, we need to repent. God is gracious and is willing to forgive. If the exchange is not sinful, but a poor exchange, ask for God’s guidance. Living well is essentially about making a worthwhile exchange in Faith.
I remembered visiting a dear sister in the hospital. She was in the late stages of cancer. I saw how desperately she wanted to live. She had requested us to pray that God will extend her life as she has unfinished tasks on earth. One of her wish was to get well so that she can serve the Lord. She had felt a deep sense of remorse and regret that she did not serve the Lord when she was able to.
There are 3 things that will ultimately last: God, His Word and the souls of man. Life is short and we live only once. Therefore let us live it well, not by indulgence but by investment in God’s kingdom. Remember not all exchanges are worthwhile. What are you exchanging your life for? Are there areas in your lives that represent a poor exchange? Ask God for help and direction. Study His Word diligently; Share the gospel faithfully and snatch others from hell; Consider an area of service. If you are already actively serving then continue to be faithful and diligent in your service. What difficulties are you facing right now? List them down and surrender them to God in faith.
Sister Teo Soke Fung