For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Dear friends in Christ,

I have never learned and lost so much in one year. As you reflect on last year and look ahead to the new year to come, please give me a moment to share with you what I have learned through loss that has changed me forever and hopefully will change you and the ministry our Lord has left us on this earth.

With each doctor’s visit that narrowed the hope of Obi’s survival, my perspective on life changed. The words of Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes ring with tremendous truth today, “Meaningless, meaningless….Everything is meaningless.” Everything in this world, apart from Christ, is meaningless. Getting in a car accident this past year was meaningless. Receiving a brand new van, which would have brought earthly joy, was meaningless. Having steak and lobster for New Year’s Eve last year was meaningless. In fact, nothing I had done or accomplished apart from Christ, meant anything, not just in 2014 but my entire life.

I don’t mean to depress you or offend you, but everything in your life apart from Christ is meaningless.

Meaningless is your time and energy and money spent on making your children the best athlete or musician or artist they can be. Meaningless is the school you went to or the school your children go to or have been accepted to. Meaningless is your golf game and the tee time you can’t miss. Meaningless is your natural diets and your opinion on modern medicine. Meaningless is your workout regimes that can’t be missed. Meaningless is your political stance or favorite sports team. Meaningless is your job, your money, your retirement. Meaningless is your house or your cabin. Meaningless is the number of deer or trophy fish on your walls.  Meaningless are the places you have been, the vacations you have spent. Meaningless are all the people or things you brag about.  Meaningless is all the drivel of everybody else’s life that we must know and share with others. Meaningless are your books, your movies, your music, your TV. Meaningless is your phone and the technology that you must have. Meaningless are your card clubs and coffee groups. Meaningless is male bonding or the girl’s night out. Meaningless are the many hours we work for worldly possessions and recreation. Everything that is considered “life” in this world, apart from Christ, is meaningless.

Are you offended? Do you object? Consider for a moment what comes of all those things apart from faith in Christ Jesus. It all comes to nothing. When you close your eyes in death, everything that belongs to this world will be gone and you will come to the perfect knowledge of the only thing that matters, faith in Christ Jesus. Apart from faith in Christ, everything is meaningless.

This fact is so easily overlooked and so quickly set aside by the designs and desires of this world. Each one of us must admit that we have thought that this meaningless world was more important than Christ and his Word. In word and action we show how attached we are to this meaningless world. And what of this world can forgive our sins or give us life eternal? If we belonged to the world we would be lost, not just in this world but eternally.

The Apostle Paul encouraged the Christians in Rome to remember that their meaning and goal in life was living for the Lord. The meaninglessness of the day to day life decisions paled in comparison to who they were through faith in Christ. As Christians, our meaning, our purpose, our goal, our life, belongs to the Lord and his will for our lives. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

This fact brings us joy and meaning, in a meaningless world. The fact that we belong to the Lord isn’t because he created us but because he saved us. He saved us from the meaninglessness of this world and gave us meaning in him. He gave us faith to belong to Him and believe that our sins are gone. That same faith in Him gives us eternal life in heaven, where our true meaning is fully felt, even though it should be fully realized and appreciated today. So then by God’s grace, we belong to him and have our meaning. We no longer live our lives for ourselves but for the Lord.

Does this new perspective change things? Yes, always in everything. You should no longer look at the meaninglessness of this world in the same light. You can no longer overlook the need for the Means of Grace. You can no longer set aside living as the salt and light of the world. We belong to the Lord and whether we live or die we belong to him. This is the new perspective, to see how belonging to the Lord changes everything.

Dear sheep of the flock, listen to the Word of the Lord and the perspective of his shepherd. At the end of eight short years, nothing mattered in Obi’s life except that he had faith in Jesus. He will never play high school or college sports. We will never wow the masses with music or rhetoric. He will never have a high paying job with power and authority. And if he could speak from heaven today, I’m sure he would say that all that and everything else apart from Christ is meaningless.

Dear Christians, You don’t belong to this world. Don’t let it and its meaninglessness pull you away from the only thing that matters, that is, faith in Christ. You belong to the Lord. Let this be your joy, your meaning, your purpose to live in this world, today, and every day.


Keep Christ First!

Pastor Christenson