John P. Mabrey
Is life worth living? This question has been asked by millions through the years, and it is sad that many have answered “no.” In fact, we are told that more than 1,000 persons (worldwide) commit suicide each day, with more than 25,000 Americans killing themselves annually. Others slip into severe depression—isolating themselves from life and reality. Millions turn to drugs and alcohol because they are convinced that life is not worth living. WHY? Is it because that life is really not worth living? NO! It is because many have reached a point where they FEEL that life is not worth living. Therefore, it is important to examine our inner self and get our inner self to start thinking correctly. Solomon was right when he said: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.” (Prov. 23:7) Thousands give up on life because they never learned to develop the inner self (the inward man). In this message, it is hoped that all will discover the true worth of life.
Life becomes worth living when we help others. We are truly happy when we are involved in helping others. Too often we live only for ourselves. This makes us very selfish and miserable people. Then, when bad health or disappointments come into our life—we become extremely unhappy. If life is only for our self, then life will let us down. In the early history of the human race, Cain asked: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen. 4:9) My friends, the answer is still “yes”!!! We need to bear one another’s burden, and we need to be concerned about one another. (Gal. 6:1-10) Jesus taught the importance of helping others in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. (Luke 10:30-37) Emily Dickinson wrote: “If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain; If I can ease one life from aching, Or cool one pain, Or help one fainting robin, Unto the nest again, I shall not live in vain.” Helping others is what pure religion is all about. “Pure religion and undefiled before God is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27) Consider Romans 14:7 – “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.” You can attempt to isolate yourself in this life as much as you desire, but the life you live, whether it be always surrounded by people, or if you become a hermit; you will influence other individuals. John Donne expressed it this way when he wrote: No Man Is An Island
No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
To make life worth living we need to help someone each day of our lives—when we are helping others, we are helping ourselves.
Life is worth living when we live to be needed. A newspaper article appeared a few years ago reporting of a young boy who killed all his family. When the boy was asked why, his only answer was: “I felt left out.” One of the basic needs of human beings is to belong, to feel needed, and when this is lost, life becomes a vacuum. We must all work to keep this from happening to us. When one feels useless, it is not always the fault of those around us. Many times it is because of we just plain old “feel sorry for ourselves.” Each of us has the responsibility to find where we are needed and where we can help others in this life. This is where Christianity in its purity is a great asset. Christianity is not just a title that we wear. Christianity is a way of life—not just a set of rituals performed on the Lord’s day. Christianity is a Christ centered life. Romans 14:8 says, “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” Philippians 1:21 echos the same sentiment. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Many of us feel left out because we have rejected thousands of opportunities to do good. Someone once wrote, “Hell begins on the day when God grants us a clear vision of all that we might have achieved, of all the gifts which we have wasted, of all that we might have done which we did not do…” When opportunity knocks, we had better answer because it may never return again. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31, the rich man longed for lost opportunities. I wonder how many times he wished he would have given Lazarus just one crumb from his table; or how many opportunities he was given to serve his fellow man, and he refused. And, how many times do preachers like me read and use this story to prove that there is indeed a heaven and a hell, but we miss the mark by neglecting the real point of the story; and that is greed and selfishness will not give us a home in heaven; rather it will only sentence us to a torment in eternal flames. When he found that there was no hope for himself, he wanted someone to be raised from the dead so that his brothers would be warned—but it was too late. He had neglected his opportunities to be needed of others; he even neglected the opportunity to help the beggar Lazarus, and now everything was lost to him forever. In the book of Acts, Luke writes of a woman named Dorcas. (Acts 9:36) “Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.” This woman died, and still her reputation for good followed her. “Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.” (Acts 9:39) What a joy it must have been for Peter to pray to God, and to ask God to bring this woman back to life. God granted the request of the prayer, and she arose from that bed where she had been prepared for burial. Too many want success to be handed to them without putting forth any effort on their part. We become needed when we meet each challenge, large or small, with long, hard hours of work. Longfellow must have had this in mind when he wrote: “The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, But they, while their companions slept, Were toiling upward in the night.” We can all be needed if we will only find our proper place. We must believe in God and in ourselves—then find our proper place in life. Consider for a moment Matthew 6:26 – “Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” God provides food for the birds, but he doesn’t throw it in their nests.
Life is worth living when we are thankful. The only way that we can honor God, allow him to remove our fears, and to direct our lives, is to be thankful to Him from whom all blessings flow. When we are on the Lord’s side and live with gratitude in our hearts; then God reduces the burdens in life to a level we can handle. One man, or one woman with God, represents the majority. Those that leave God out of their lives and make an effort to tackle life along the way without the help of God, will only have disappointment and fear. Someone once said, “He that loses money loses little, he that loses health loses much, but he that loses courage loses all.” Without God, we have no courage. We have so much to be thankful for in America. Regardless of the economy in this country, we still live in a land of plenty. Whatever our status is in life, we are rich if we live in America. Our hearts should ache when we think of the thousands in this nation who are not thankful—who have opportunities for happiness, but close their eyes and reject those opportunities. However, our gratitude should not begin and end with physical blessings—for our greatest blessings are spiritual ones. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” (Eph. 1:3) Thus, we should be found “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” (Eph. 5:20) How easy it is to receive the blessings of Christ daily, and never sincerely thank God for them. It has been said that the greatest possession for which to be thankful is a thankful heart.
Life is worth living when you are a New Testament Christian. All the success and happiness we find on earth will be total failure if we are not right with God. Happiness in religion does not come from some watered-down type of religion. I could speak all kinds of things from the pulpit to make people feel good and to have a warm fuzzy feeling inside; but it would do you no good in eternity if it is not the words of eternal life. Rest assured that God does have a way—he has a divine plan for man to follow, and He is not pleased with anything less! God sent his only Son to die on the cross that we might have forgiveness of sins. He has given us His inspired word by the Holy Ghost which he promised. He has left us within that word the steps that one must follow in order to have forgiveness of sins; therefore eternal life. We must hear His word and have faith in Jesus. (Rom. 10:17) We must repent of our sins. That means turning away from a life in the world of darkness, and turn toward God and the light of his Son. “I tell you nay; except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3) We must confess the name of Jesus the Christ. (Rom. 10:10) “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Then, be baptized for the remission of sins. (Acts 2:38) When we rise to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4), the Lord will add you to the church that he suffered, bled, and died for. (Acts 2:47) Yes my friend, life is worth living when we put forth the effort. This is the Lord’s way. (John 14:6) There is no other way. If you are here needing to be restored to the Lord, the Lord is waiting to forgive you. If you need to be baptized for remission of sins, the Lord is pleading with you to come. Contact someone in the local church of Christ today.