Building a life that counts

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By Louis Abel

.....the world passes away...but he that does the will of God abides forever.   
1 John 2:17
Walking along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico early one morning, as I like to do, I came upon quite an elaborate sandcastle. Evidently, some youngster the day before had spent hours scooping out the moats, heaping up the mounds of earth, forming the castle walls and placing many beautiful shells on them as an added decoration. How proud he must have been of his work. I can just imagine hearing him call out, "Mommy, Daddy, look at what I made!" And then, how his face must have just lit up as he received their enthusiastic praise.
As I came along just after sunrise, the tide was coming in and with it the continual action of the waves. They seemed to move in a little closer with each succeeding crash. As I stopped to look closer at this child's castle of sand, a big wave broke at my feet, disintegrating a portion of it. Then came another wave, and yet another, adding to its ruin. Returning some time later, I found the castle was completely gone.  It made me think of the castles of sand that men and women erect in real life. They spend not just a few hours, but sometimes years working and laboring, thinking they are accomplishing something.  But then comes the night, and after the builders themselves are gone, the tides of time swirl in and soon their cherished castles disappear, and they and their works are both forgotten.
There is only one way to build a life that counts, and a work that lasts. It is to build on the Rock, Christ Jesus, and to do so with eternity's values in view. To raise and educate your children to succeed in this life is fine, but what are you doing to help them prepare for that life that is to come?  To be successful in business and receive the applause of people may give temporary pleasure and satisfaction, but what are you doing for eternity? What are you building,  a "castle of sand," or something that will last forever?  It was Daniel who said, "...they that turn many to righteousness, shall shine as the stars forever and ever."  (Daniel 12:3).
Louis Abel is pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.