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A Life Well Spent

As Paul anticipated the end of his life, he wrote to Timothy:  “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2Tim. 4:7-8).  These are the words of a man who was confident that his life had served the purpose that God had intended.  “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:  Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.” (Eccl. 12:13)  Paul had done this, and therefore he knew he had spent his life well.

In Paul’s words, he states that he was not the only one who could receive God’s reward.  “All who have loved His appearing” are all of those who recognized Jesus as the Son of God who came to earth and have submitted themselves to Him as their Lord.  These are the ones who, like Paul, would please God and make the best use of their own lives.

We must realize that every human life has the potential to please God.  Regardless of a person’s background or age, if he or she will submit to God in faithful obedience, God will be pleased with that person.  Children please God by believing Him and obeying His commandment to obey their parents (Eph. 6:1-3).  Mature persons of any age can hear and believe the gospel of Christ, repent of their sins, confess Jesus Christ, be immersed in water for the remission of sins, and become true followers of Christ, thus pleasing God.  If you have not realized this potential in yourself, please be assured that you can please God.

Truly every person is a candidate to please God, even the most wicked of sinners.  Remember that the apostle Paul was once a persecutor of the Lord’s church.  He wrote, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all” (1Tim. 1:15).  Christ has given everyone hope, but that hope is only in faithful obedience to Him.  “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” (Mark 16:16)  Every person who can believe and be baptized can be saved and please God, thus making the most of his or her life.

It is usually easier to see the potential for pleasing God in our own lives than it is to see it in others.  However, we must learn to see this potential in others even as our Lord sees it:  “Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest” (John 4:35).  Jesus even saw the potential in the lives of some whom we might have disregarded:  Matthew, the tax collector; Peter, a poorly educated fisherman; and Paul, the chief persecutor of the church.  All of these spent their lives well, serving God and pleasing Him.  Jesus now sees the potential in all people, and He appeals to them through His gospel.

Therefore, our goal is evident.  We must seek to please God with our own lives and help others to do the same with their lives.  It is that simple!  God has given us a goal that we all can accomplish through the gospel, and He has given us every advantage to be successful.  So, how are you doing?  Is your life pleasing to God, or do you seek only to please yourself?  Do you help others understand that the purpose of their lives is to please God and how they may be successful in Christ?  Realize that there is nothing sadder than a lost soul and a wasted life, and life is wasted if it is not well spent in the service of Almighty God.

Stacey E. Durham



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