Illustration drawn from Luke 12:16-21
A man, rich and prosperous in the things of this world, contemplated the future. His farmland had produced another bountiful return, and he had an abundance of goods. As he considered his wealth, he made plans to tear down his barns and build bigger barns to hold his possessions. “I have worked hard, and it is time to enjoy my wealth. I have enough money to last for many years. I will retire and relax—eating, drinking, and having fun.” Thus, this rich man thought as he planned for tomorrow.
As he mused over his successes and future goals, the God of Heaven, creator of the universe, spoke to him: “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou has provided?”
This man, with all his temporal blessings and great plans for the future, died that night. His wealth and prestige did nothing for him as he stood at the brink of eternity unprepared to stand before the judgment seat of God. Tomorrow never came, for in death he began a never-ending journey of darkness and despair.
God called the man a fool because he had made plans for the things of this life but had neglected to prepare his soul for eternity. What message might this man bring to us today from beyond the grave?
“Do not forget God. Eternity is real. When you die, it is not the end, it is just the beginning.” Heaven, a place of wonderful peace and joy, awaits the righteous; and Hell, a place of misery and torment, awaits the sinner. Of what value are the things of this world which are so fleeting, when eternity looms at our doorstep? Death is no respecter of persons. All people, whether young, old, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, famous or unknown, will die and meet God. The things this world places value on will make no difference in the life to come. The only thing that will matter is whether you have turned away from your sin, accepted Jesus Christ as your savior, and are daily living for Him.
People are spending so much time and energy in pursuit of riches, prestige, education, and the pleasures of the flesh. Decisions are being made for the “here and now” without regard for the condition of the eternal soul. God has been forgotten by society, and people are living for the moment.
My friend, eternity is ahead of you—a never-ending experience where time is no longer counted, for there is no end. Are you ready to face God who will judge you for how you have lived your life? Neither your background, socio-economic status, church affiliation, nor religious beliefs will deliver you from the power of eternal darkness. You must accept Jesus Christ and live every day in holiness before God.
The prophet Amos exhorted the people to “Prepare to meet thy God”
(Amos 4:12). The rich man had prepared for retirement, and there was nothing wrong with that, but in all his plans he had not prepared to meet God. To prepare means to “make ready for.” Have you prepared to meet God? Are you living life with the Judgment and eternity in mind? It takes effort to prepare for something. Every decision of every day should be made to please God and for the welfare of the soul.
The unfortunate reality is that most people are neglecting the soul. Many have a head knowledge of God and even a form of religion, and yet their decisions are based upon what will further their temporal status rather than what is best for them spiritually. What about you?
Life is uncertain, and none of us will know in advance when we will die and meet God. Let us not live the life of a fool. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
(Matthew 16:26). When we die and stand at the judgment seat, having neglected to put God first in life, what will we be willing to trade for eternal life? We would give anything and everything to escape the torment of hell. Every soul in eternity would be willing to live life over if they had the chance. They would willingly change and give up any thing that had hindered them from living a righteous and godly life. They would give up all riches, education, pleasures, and attitudes that separated them from God. However, there are no do-overs for eternity. Today is our time; this is our opportunity.
What will you do with your soul right now? If you are living for the things of this world rather than living daily to serve God and minister hope in this world, you need to humble your heart and pray. Accept Jesus into your heart and let every choice you make not be dictated by this temporal world but by the eternal world that is quickly approaching. Time is short and Jesus is waiting for you! ■