Monday, October 1, 2012

From The Parables of Jesus By William Barclay

It may well be said that the most dangerous word in the English language is the word “tomorrow”. It may be a grim thought, but it is a necessary thought, that we have no bond on time. No one knows if for him tomorrow will ever come. There is an old story of three apprentice devils who where coming from hell to earth to serve their time. They were telling Satan before they left what they proposed to do. One said, “I will tell men that there is no God”. “That” said Satan, “will not do because in their heart of hearts they know there is.” “I will tell men,” said the second, “that there is no hell.” “That,” said Satan, “is still more hopeless for even in life they have experienced the remorse of hell.” I will tell men,” said the third, “that there is no hurry.” “Go”, said Satan, “tell them that and you will ruin them by the million.” 

The rich fool forgot time. It is told of Alexander the Great that at every feast he kept a little model of a skeleton on the table beside him to remind him that, even at its happiest, time was short and death must come. It is a thing that all must remember, not simply as a grim and a frightening thing, but as a challenge to prepare ourselves for taking a step to a greater work and a higher world and a life in the presence of God.

He forgot that a man is what he is and not what he has. He concentrated on the pursuit of the things he was bound to leave behind and forgot the things he could take with him. As the Spanish proverb grimly has it, “There are no pockets in a shroud.” Or as our own saying puts it, “Sow a deed, reap a habit;’ sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” In the last analysis the one thing a man can take with him when he leaves this world is himself. Alexander the Great gave instruction that when he died his body should be placed in the coffin in such a way that it should be seen that his hands were empty. The conqueror of the world was well aware that he could take none of his conquest with him. The supreme aim of life should not be the acquisition of merely temporary things but the formation of a character which some day we may take without shame to God. 

Luke 12:13-21

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