This is our Christmas issue, and we here at the MBJ bid you all a joyous holiday. As our thoughts focus on the “reason for the season,” I am reminded that, amongst all the hustle and bustle and glitter and sparkle, the birth of Jesus is the only reason for excitement at this time of year.
Why is the birth of Jesus so important to us? Believers are convinced that, through the life and death of Jesus, we have the possibility of eternal life. Man has sought immortality above all else throughout the ages. Christianity offers immortality in exchange for faith that God became human and dwelt among us and through Him we can enjoy life after death and receive our just reward for righteous living.
What if there were no afterlife? Suppose for a moment that Jesus appeared to us today and confessed that this life is all there is. No immortality, no Heaven; just life as we know it. When you die, it’s over. Would you be disappointed? Of course you would! Would you regret your attempt at righteous living? Let’s think about that for a moment.
What would we have given up in our quest for Heaven? All those opportunities to have lied and cheated our fellow man have been lost. (Well, most of them anyway.) All those little spontaneous acts of kindness toward friends, family and strangers will now go unrewarded. All those dollars we invested in our immortality through charitable giving could just as well have been spent on buying more “toys” for ourselves. What a waste!
Just think of all that time we spent in church listening to preachers telling us how to live our lives. Oh, the hunting and golfing opportunities we missed! The time we spent studying scripture and pondering over life’s difficult issues, all for naught.
What do you think?
Each of us must answer this riddle for himself. As for me, I am glad that, for the most part, I have chosen the Christian life. Admittedly, my life has been an unending stream of imperfections and failings, however, I am comfortable in my faith.
What would I have done differently without the incentive of an afterlife? Not much. I have learned that it truly is more blessed to give than to receive. The comfort I have enjoyed by trying to encourage others along their way far outweighs any “sins of choice” I may have forfeited in trying to do the right thing. Though I too would be disappointed to learn that there is no immortality, I don’t think it would substantially change the way I live and I doubt that I would regret the direction my life has taken.
So, as we end another year and slide toward a new millennium, I sincerely hope that each of you will spend a few moments in solitary thought as to the real meaning of this season. Perhaps this will be a time of spiritual strengthening for all of us. Then upon reflection, you too may say as Joshua said so long ago: “choose this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Thought for the Moment
Today in the town of Bethlehem a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
– Luke 2:11
Joe D. Jones, CPA, is publisher of the Mississippi Business Journal. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.