Monday, October 25, 1999

What Money Can't Buy

Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. (Mark 10:24-25)

For those with great aspirations to be wealthy, this is a tough verse to read. We all know it is a physical impossibility for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle. Hence, is it equally or more impossible for someone that is wealthy to make it to heaven? I'll answer that question with a personal testimony.

Throughout my life, I've been blessed. I have great family and friends. I live in a nice home, have a good job, and drive a nice car (granted it's getting pretty old). Frankly, if there's anything I want or desire, I simply go out and buy it.

But the picture I paint about my life isn't as rosy as it sounds. For so many years, my main concern was me. I had to be the best and have the best. If I didn't score the most points, bat 4th in the line-up, wear the best clothes, or have the highest grade point average, I had big problems. To be honest, I'd still be on that road today if the Lord didn't completely humble me a few years back. In a very short period of time, I lost my appearance, my job, my girlfriend, and my will to live. All gone in a matter of months. I quickly realized that fame and fortune did not buy happiness and they could not stop the downward spiral I was on.

At that lowest point, I said to the Lord, "this is now your life to live, for I no longer have the strength to live it." At that time, everything gradually began to change. My focus was no longer me, but Christ. With Christ at the center, other people actually began to matter. Sure I've always loved my family and friends, but I now had a deep concern for even those I disliked.

This past week, I saw a friend at the gym I haven't seen in quite sometime. He's a friend whose family and mine have a troubled past. I started telling him about the joys of my life: I was engaged, getting married, etc. But I could see the pain in his eyes and I stopped. He told me he and his girlfriend of 2 years had broken up. Within 2 weeks, she had started dating again, and it has placed him into a deep depression for the past 4 months. I told him the above story I just shared of my own history. The tears welled up in my eyes as I told it, for I could see him now in that same place I was in just a few short years ago. But those tears of sorrow turned to tears of joy as he told me that he has developed a strong relationship with Christ; stronger than it has ever been before. I knew then that he was in good hands; the very hands that carried me.

Friday, October 15, 1999

A Meaningful Life

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:15-16)

My goals in life have changed drastically over the years. As a teenager, I dreamed about playing 3rd base for the NY Mets. I batted clean-up, I drove in 100 runs and hit 50 home runs per season, played an error-free 3rd base, and led my team to a World Championship every season I played. I was simply the best 3rd baseman who never came to be. In college, I scrapped that fantasy for something much more realistic. I was going to be the next superstar singer. I produced nothing but #1 hits and albums and graced every magazine cover known to man.

But as I grew older, I came to realize that a meaningful life for me would not entail being an all-star baseball player or a rock star. Homeruns and hit songs do not lead to eternal salvation; but Christ does. A few years ago, I asked myself a question that still sticks with me today: "If I died tomorrow, what would I be remembered for?" I put together a list that concerned me: good athlete, good student, Mets fan, Cowboys fan, Rutgers fan, etc. I made the decision that day to make a change. I decided to use the tools that the Lord had given me, and use them for His purpose.

One day, when I have left this earth, hopefully those that knew me would remember me not for the teams that I rooted for or the sports that I played, but as a man that lived for Christ and lived each day trying to lead others to Him.

Tuesday, October 5, 1999

The Glory of God

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night."
(Genesis 1:1-5)

For those of you who speak with me frequently, you know my 4 weeks in Canada have worn me down. I was sick for 2 of the 4 weeks, I had endless trouble getting across the border, the weather was wintery, the Mets were collapsing, there was no ESPN, etc etc. But the Monday morning of 9/27 was different. I decided to give my body a chance to regroup and flew in Monday morning as opposed to late Sunday night. Unlike the week before when it was cold, wet, and rainy the entire week, Monday was a warm, sunny, and beautiful day. As I got in the rental car and made the 2 hour drive north from the airport to the account, for the first time of my life, I really took notice of the colors of the leaves. Sure I've noticed the color change before, but I never really stopped to think about just how majestic the view actually was.

As I was putting together the Genesis verses Sunday night, the words that stood out were "And God saw that it was good" and "And it was so." Monday morning those words really hit home as I basked in the power and love in the God that I serve. I began to think about heaven and about what "eye has not seen nor ear heard what God has in store for those that love Him." Could God really top the majestic beauty I was seeing before my very eyes?

I long to witness the answer to that question when my short time on this earth has come and gone. I long to be in the presence of the one who "gathered the waters", "created man in his own image" and said "let there be light." One day I'll stand in judgment before Him, the God of all creation, and with His Son as my attorney, my eyes and ears will finally behold what they've been deprived of all these years.