Tuesday, June 22, 2010

If I Could Live a Thousand Years

Futurist Ray Kurzweil co-authored a book called Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever. Among other things, he recommended taking 250 nutritional-supplement pills a day, getting weekly purges at an alternative-medicine clinic, avoiding the use of cell phones, and completely eliminating sugar from the diet--all in the name of living indefinitely longer.

One reviewer's comment: "I can see how it might seem a lot longer!"

Living 100+ years in excellent health always sounds like a good deal until someone brings up the price tag of increased inconvenience, possible discomfort, or giving up your favorite pleasures. Most people would rather dream the impossible dream of a pill they could take every night to reset their health to "perfect," leaving their days free to eat, drink, and be merry. And yet, there are those who live pretty much like that, who get everything they want, who have yet to suffer any unpleasant consequences--and yet are bored with life to the point of being suicidal. Ultimately, everyone needs a better reason to live than simply being afraid to die.

Enter Jesus and His offer of John 10:10b: "I have come that [you] may have life, and have it to the full." Not necessarily life in the sense of more and healthier years on earth, nor only life in the sense of eternal existence in Heaven; but life in the sense of being everything we were meant to be, of enjoying with unmixed gratitude every good thing we have, of taking delight in the most mundane of duties because we see eternal purpose behind them. Above all, life in the sense of being free to love God and others with all that is in us. There are those who seem to have been already blessed to have fully learned this secret of living life to the full, who are always bursting with joy and passion, who seem impossible to discourage by any dire prediction or adverse circumstance.

For most people, even sincere Christians, it's an uphill battle to reach that point. Many of us may never come close this side of Heaven. But it should encourage us to know what we have to look forward to.

If I could live a thousand years
And drink of every dream on earth,
Completely free of mortal fears
Through every moment from my birth,
If I had all the pleasure-things
That earthly days could ever give--
Yet never knew the joy God brings,
I never would be blessed to live.

If I knew that tomorrow's sun
Would rise to find my soul had passed
To other realms beyond this one,
If my last hours were flying fast,
If but one day remained for me--
Would I have strength to stand the test?
Would I rejoice to be set free,
With faith that I had served God's best?

Lord, I may live a hundred years
Or see Your face this very day;
I cannot tell how many tears
And joys remain; I only pray
That what I show to You might be,
Once I leave earth forevermore,
A life that served not only me,
But showed the way to Heaven's door.