I’m going to quote my PhD mentor Dave Black again. However, I will first publicly apologize for calling his site an “un-pseudo-blog-type-thing” instead of using the proper technical term of “Unter-Blog.” And, second, I will publicly thank him for inviting me to teach Greek for him tomorrow!
Anyway, on his unter-blog, Dave talks about life and death and priorities.
On Sunday, April 3, 2011 at 6:44 p.m., he wrote:
Tragically, it often takes a “severe mercy” in our lives before God gets a hold of us and we begin to affirm God (rather than success or relevance) as the only source of our identify as Christians. A few years ago I stood at the place in Bucharest where the brutal dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife were executed because of their abuse of power. Contrast that with a scene in Alaba, Ethiopia, where in 2005 I had gone to meet the parents of a 19-year old who had been murdered for his faith. There I met a man named Tesfai whose 8-year old daughter had just been beheaded by the enemies of the cross. I asked him what I could pray for. Instead of asking for money or safety he responded, “Pray that I might be loving and forgiving like Jesus.” There was nothing “relevant,” “spectacular,” or “powerful” about Tesfai. But here was a man who had his priorities right. Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save it. And His mission is to be carried on through His disciples. Like Jesus, we are to do the Father’s work and announce the Father’s kingdom, and we are to do this by loving all people, even those who hate us.
As I write these words my life expectancy is about 20 years. I want to commit myself for these 20 years to doing all I can to reconcile lost sinners to God, to themselves, and to one another. If my scholarship can contribute to this end, then I am content to continue teaching and writing books. But never again can my focus be on academics. The human problem is essentially a problem of the heart. Forgiveness of sin is at the root of Jesus’ radical message. And with the forgiveness of sin the Gospel also brings an empowering liberation from the seduction of those secondary things in our lives that pull us away from reality.
Friends, a time comes when each of us must reevaluate our priority system. Life is too short to live it for temporal dreams
As we’ve studied Paul’s letter to the Colossians, we’ve noticed that Paul begins by praying that his readers would know the will of God in “spiritual” wisdom and understanding. Spiritual things are eternal things. Too often, we get caught up in physical and temporal things.
It’s always good to reevaluate your priority system. Are you spending your time, energy, resources, talents, and opportunities with spiritual, eternal things, or with physical, temporal things?