Friday, February 11, 2011

What Really Counts?

In early January 1968 the ship USS Pueblo was sent on an electronic surveillance mission off the east coast of North Korea.  On January 23, 1968 Pueblo was attacked in international waters by North Korean naval and air forces.  Eighty two surviving crew members were captured and held prisoner for 11 months.  Earlier the sailors had discarded religious services aboard ship because only two showed up.  After their capture by the North Koreans and during their eleven months of imprisonment, that changed dramatically.  Spiritual matters became important to them.  They reconstructed by memory most of the books of the Bible, the Ten Commandments, and familiar scriptures such as the 23rd Psalm.  They engaged in daily prayers.
What are the most important values in the world?  The entertainment media spends many hours and untold amounts of money trying to convince the public that material values are of supreme importance.  In an article he wrote several years ago, the gospel preacher, Richard Jones, said that “commercials on television occur every seven minutes and on radio every three minutes brainwashing us to believe that happiness is found by buying it.”  It simply isn’t true.  Jesus said, “One’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Lk. 12:15, ESV).  Jones correctly observed, “A crisis can’t be met because there’s a Cadillac in the garage.”
On one occasion Rudyard Kipling, speaking to a group of college graduates, said, “You spend your time getting an education so that you can get a better job, have nicer clothes, make more money, and enjoy more of the good things of life.  But one day you will meet a man who cares for none of these things, and then you’ll know how poor you really are.”  Such a man was Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  He didn’t own real estate, or travel the world, or invest large sums of money in financial institutions; yet, undoubtedly, He was the wealthiest person who has ever lived on earth.  Through Him we have the opportunity of being spiritually enriched (2 Cor. 8:9).  Do we have to wait until some crisis occurs in our life before we realize what is really important?

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