The tragedy of a wasted life


“O you sons of men, how long will you turn my honor and glory into shame?  How long will you love vanity and futility and seek after lies?”  Psalm 4:2 (Amplified)

It is possible to for a person to live their entire life pursuing the wrong things, majoring on the meaningless and worthless.

It is possible to come to the very end of your life and, looking back on it, say, “What a total waste!”

That would be horrible and a tragedy beyond tragedies.

What is the purpose of life?  Question #1 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, “What is the chief end of man?”  The answer: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

I often ponder this and think about it often, desiring to bring my life into harmony with its simple beauty:  glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.

Do you share my conviction that this is how our lives should be lived, that the goal of our existence should be to glorify God and enjoy Him forever?

Some might claim this is the thinking of a religious fanatic, that such a medieval mindset has no part in our modern world and puts up unnecessary hindrances to the pursuit of happiness in today’s technologically savvy society.

If you think this way, I urge you to ponder Psalm 4:2; you are perhaps in the very condition that God’s Word is telling you to avoid.  You might be loving vanity and seeking after worthless pursuits that will leave you, at the end of your life, regretting you put so much time, energy and treasure toward.  That would be horrific.

The Psalmist is warning us that we can “love vanity and futility and seek after lies.”  This is usually due to the fact that we fail to give God His rightful place of prominence in our lives.  When He is not Lord, we make ourselves out to be our own little gods and everything we then do is just additional steps in the wrong direction, leading to futility and a wasteland.

Jesus said many incredible things; here is one statement that is astounding in its relevance to today’s post:

“And He said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.'”  (Luke 16:15 NASB)

Allow me to repeat this for emphasis:  “for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.”

The examples we could give to put flesh on this bone of truth is endless, but let me mention just one of these highly esteemed things which men delight in but are detestable in God’s sight:  sports in general and football in particular.

Many Americans worship football and all that surrounds this colossal waste of time, money and energy.  I don’t want to spend much time on detailing why I believe this, and perhaps this would be a blog worth writing at another time; suffice to say, most would agree that there are people in this country and around the world that love football far more than they love God.

Can I be so bold as to say that God despises football, mainly because it is something that so many men highly esteem?  I believe I am dead center and right on track, particularly when we see that the epitome of football, the Superbowl, has degenerated into a national orgy of alcohol consumption, overeating, sex, pride, lust and rock n’ roll…pure foolishness.

If there is any concrete example of one “seeking after lies,” “loving vanity and futility,” it is football, pure and simple.

But one will never see the truth of my statement until God opens their eyes.  Until this happens, men–and women–will continue to pay huge bucks and waste gigantic amounts of time and energy to indulge themselves in this national act of vanity.

On a side note, if you doubt what I say about football and sports in general, check you blood pressure as you read these words; this will give you the best evidence that what I’m writing about is absolute truth.

We are all going to die, some sooner than later.  I think one reason why the Lord allows us to slowly age is because it gives us the chance at gaining some much needed perspective on what is truly valuable in life.

As we lie on death’s door, thinking back on our lives, I don’t think one of us will ever regret that we didn’t buy that new boat or car that we had always longed for.  No, we will regret not spending more time with our kids and grandkids, or helping out the poor and needy, or making a real difference in the world.

If we are particularly astute, we will weigh our lives in the balance of God’s measurement, regretting that we did not spend more of our lives in getting to know Him and serve Him, bringing honor to His Name and advancing His causes in the earth.

I’m sure nobody, when they realize death is right around the corner, wishes they had spent more time in building up their bank balance or thinking, “I should have painted the garage floor when I had the time and chance to do it.”

Let’s stop pursuing vanity and futility in our lives and start today to rearrange our priorities in line with those that Jesus Himself modeled and practiced.  We will never regret it.

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