I was reading Max Lucado's book a few days ago titled--'Outlive Your Life.' The book expands on the first twelve chapters of the book of Acts and the everyday challenges that the early disciples faced and how they still apply to what we face almost two-thousand years later.
If you have read it or desire to read it, you will discover in the early pages of the book a story that challenges the way most think (and behave) today.
Max shares what he calls a fable on a person named Father Benjamin. What follows will challenge you in how you are investing the life that God has given you to live. Come to think about it, 'what do you have to give that was not first given to you by God?'
The story goes as follows--"Unfavorable winds blow the ship off course, and when they do, the sailors spot uncharted islands. They see a half dozen mounds rising out of the blue South Sea waters. The captain orders the men to drop anchor and goes ashore. He is a robust man with a barrel chest, full beard, and curious soul.
On the first island he sees nothing but sadness. Underfed children. Tribes in conflict. No farming or food development, no treatment for the sick, and no schools. Just simple, needy people.
The second and following reveal more of the same. The captain sighs at what he sees. 'This is no life for these people.' But what can they do?
Then he steps onto the last and largest island. The people are healthy and well fed. Irrigation systems nourish their fields, and roads connect the villages. The children have bright eyes and strong bodies. The captain asks the chief for an explanation. How has this island moved so far ahead of the others?
The chief, who is smaller than the captain but in every bit his equal in confidence, gives a quick response: 'Father Benjamin. He educated us in everything from agriculture to health. He built schools and clinics and dug wells.'
The captain asked, 'can you take me to see him?'
The chief nods and signals for two tribesmen to join him. They guide the captain over a jungle ridge to a simple, expansive medical clinic. It is equipped with clean beds and staffed with trained caretakers. They show the captain shelves of medicine and introduce him to the staff. The captain, though impressed, sees nothing of Father Benjamin. He repeats his request, 'I would like to see Father Benjamin. Can you take me to see where he lives?'
The three natives looked puzzled. They confer among themselves. After several minutes the chief invites, 'Follow us to the other side of the island.' They walk along the shoreline until they reach a series of fishponds. Canals connect the ponds to the ocean. As the tide rises, fish pass from the ocean into the ponds. The islanders then lower canal gates and trap the fish for harvest.
Again, the captain is amazed. He meets fishermen and workers, gatekeepers, and net casters. But he sees nothing of Father Benjamin. He wonders if he is making himself clear.
'I don't see Father Benjamin. Please take me to where he lives.'
The trio talk alone again. After some discussion the chief offers, 'Let's go up to the mountains.' They lead the captain up a steep, narrow path. After many twists and turns the path deposits them in front of a grass-roofed chapel. The voice of the chief is soft and earnest. 'He has taught us about God.'
He escorts the captain inside and shows him the altar, a large wooden cross, several rows of benches, and a Bible.
'Is this where Father Benjamin lives?' the captain asks.
The men nod and smile.
'May I talk to him?'
Their faces grow suddenly serious. 'Oh, that would be impossible.'
'He died many years ago.'
The bewildered captain stares at the men. ' I asked to see him, and you showed me a clinic, some fish farms, and this chapel. You said nothing of his death.
'You didn't ask about his death,' the chief explains. ' You asked to see where he lives. We showed you.'" end
When I finished that section of reading, I wrote underneath these words--"what (who) will live on because there was a time when you (I) lived?"
Don't you think that worth considering while there is time to change the outcome?
I recall a phrase in yet another book in summary. "One of the greatest tragedies of life is to live an entire life and never discover the purpose of it."
Life lived void of God's purpose is no life at all. It's just existence.
It's been well said that the two most important days in a person's life are the day of their birth and the day they discover why.
Most know the first and celebrate it annually. Have you a reason to celebrate the second?
I hope so because the second of the two may well be more special than the first!
Don't settle for just being alive--LIVE LIFE IN CHRIST!
If you will, you will discover hereafter just how many you influenced to do the same!
(ref. 'Outlive Your Life'--Max Lucado--pgs xix, xx, & xxi)