The one thing I shall most regret upon meeting Jesus, is not the multitude of sins He had to bear on my behalf, nor the shortness of life, but it is my waste of time and money that will have defined my life. When I was healthy, I was busy doing things for myself, like work, sports, school, and even the sharing of my faith in Jesus, which was as much to feel good about myself, as it was to honor Him. Once my health went south, I found myself spending nearly every waking hour in front of the television or the computer. Truly, I am ashamed of my wasted life that could have, and should have done so much more for the lost and hungry people of the world.
When I compare myself with others in my family, and even to those in my church, I feel like I have served Him way above average, but the sad thing is, the majority of my time has been spent on myself. When I think about how poorly I have done in living for, and serving the Lord, I see myself as a dismal failure. My life reminds me of the last scene in Schindler's List, where the hero weeps over his failure to save more Jews from death. He had saved so many, but it wasn't the best he could have done. He bemoans the fact that his ring, a gold award, and his car all could have been sold to ransom more of the condemned. Unfortunately, I am afraid I am not unique. The entire Church is comprised of people just like me. And, as a result, there are billions who will never hear about or seen examples of our Lord.
Lately, I have been drawn to the plight of the poor. Our church supports a few missionaries, most of whom serve in poverty areas of the world. Those serving orphans, the lost, and the starving get a tenth of our tenth. That means that if the church takes in $100,000 annually, $10,000 is spent to support missionaries abroad. This also means that the members of the church made at least $1,000,000 that same year. So, bottom line: one percent goes to missionaries. How much goes to feed the hungry? How much goes to food, clothing, and shelter of the poor of the world? Our support goes to provide for the needs of our missionaries. If I were a missionary, and had to sustain my family while thousands were starving around us, I would feel unbearable guilt. It must break their hearts to be unable to feed them. The Church has successfully focused on Acts 1:8, but has lost sight of Acts 2:44-47. Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep. He said that what you have done to help the least of these, you have done to Me. It is little wonder that we have lost "favor with all the people" (Acts 2:47).
Let me be quick to say that it is not the fault of the missionary. He is responsible for taking care of his family while they are there to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those who have never heard the good news. But, what does it say about us? Compared to world standards, Americans live luxurious lives. We waste more food than most families around the world get. We no longer have something that breaks repaired; it is cheaper to buy a new one. We are no longer satisfied that we have phone service; we have to have the latest edition of sophisticated communication, and have it in our favorite color. Rather than coordinating our schedules so that we can live with one vehicle, everyone in the family has to have one. We no longer are willing to sit together in the living room and watch what the majority wants to see; we have a TV in every room!
My wife and my daughters keep after me about writing down my life story. They know that God has truly blessed me and gifted me. When I was an atheist, He convinced me that He loved me. When I was a young Christian, I witnessed to everyone I met. I went to Bible College and Seminary. I was the pastor of a church and have taught Bible studies for years. They see my life as a positive thing. They see it as evidence of God's use of this tired, old, clay vessel. What they fail to see it the selfish, wasteful, and unproductive human being who is about to meet the "Accountant!" Yes, I am going to have to give an account of my use of gifts, resources, knowledge, and time. And, if it wasn't for the fact that Jesus died for even those things, I would spend eternity in the awful lake of fire. I am so very glad that God loves even me!
I pray that whoever reads this blog, will think on these things. Don't live your life focused upon your needs and pleasures. Live for Christ by living for others! Feed the hungry, dress the naked, shelter the homeless, nurse the sick, and comfort the hopeless. If you spend your life as a good steward, you will have no regrets when you face the soon-coming Lord. And, He is coming soon!