You haven’t really lived until...”
You often hear this phrase in ads or from people you know claiming that you have not truly experienced life until you have driven a particular car, vacationed in some exotic locale, or indulged in a certain delicious dessert.
But are these earthly pleasures really what produce true, meaningful life?
Jenny, a happy five-year-old with bouncy, blond curls, was waiting with her mother in the checkout line of a discount store when she saw a string of glistening white faux pearls in a pink foil box. “Oh please, Mommy,” she asked, “can I have them? Please, Mommy, please?” Her mother glanced at the price and shook her head.
When Jenny got home, she dumped the contents of her piggy bank on her bed and counted out her pennies. That night, she did more than her share of chores. The next day, she picked dandelions for the neighbor for ten cents. Then on her birthday, Grandma gave her a new dollar bill. At last she had enough money to buy the necklace.
Jenny cherished her little fake pearls.
One night when her father finished a bedtime story, he asked Jenny, “Do you love me?”
“Oh yes, Daddy. You know I love you.”
“Then give me your pearls.”
“Oh, Daddy, not my pearls! You can have Princess—the white horse with the pink tail from my collection. Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She’s my favorite.”
“That’s okay, honey. Daddy loves you. Good night.” And he gently kissed her cheek.
Several nights later when her daddy came to pray with her, Jenny sat crumpled on her bed with her legs crossed. Her chin trembled and her face was wet with tears.
“What is it, Jenny? What’s the matter?”
Jenny slowly lifted her small, clenched fist to her daddy. She opened it. Inside was her pearl necklace. Her voice quivered as she said, “Here, Daddy. It’s for you.”
With tears in his own eyes, Jenny’s daddy accepted the cherished dime-store necklace. Then he reached into his pocket, pulled out a blue velvet case, and gave it to her. Inside was a strand of genuine pearls. He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the imitation pearls so he could give her the genuine treasure.
The genuine treasure God wants to give you is the supernatural life of Christ. What a tremendous adventure! Yet if you were to honestly examine your life, what would you discover? Are fake treasures robbing you of an abundant life in Jesus Christ? Does your heart desire a comfortable lifestyle carefully wrapped in a fancy box? Are you clutching in your hand a longing for the world’s approval or for love at any cost?
Counterfeit riches will keep you from receiving the real treasure God has for you. God wants to fill your life to overflowing with His love, grace, and power. He holds this abundant life “in His pocket” eager to present it to you. How true is the inspired quote from the missionary and martyr Jim Elliot, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
Our Lord Jesus declares in Mark 8:34,35, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow Me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will find true life.” The Living Bible states that only those who do the latter “will ever know what it means to really live.”
I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
By Bill Bright, Abundant Living
©2023 Copyright Bright Media Foundation