Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Beginning and End (04/16/09)
TITLE: The beginning of a great end
By Angelo Faleiro
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I wonder that man had been preparing everything to enjoy his life. Probably, he had postponed many things, just to reach his objective of getting many riches and then having a "real full" life. But something went wrong on his plan. The end of his life arrived before the predicted time. Just when he thought he was finally ready for the real beginning, it had already finished.
James says that we are like fog that soon disappears. However, as we are obstinate, we always try to convince ourselves that our lives are going to last much longer. That’s why we usually forget that, in fact, from the moment we were born, we have already begun to die.
Curiously, as a warning, Jesus indicated the problem in the “perfect” rich man´s plan: he had not been rich toward God. Being rich toward God means being rich toward other people, because “everyone who loves (...) knows God.” [I Jo 4.7b – NIV]. I became rich toward people when I treat them well, devote myself to their problems and really care about them – that is: when I put people above things.
Jesus did not finish the history of that rich man because it was only a parable. But I usually imagine a possible continuation for that with the following end. The rich man thought he was listening to imaginary voices, got up, went to his bed and soon fell asleep. The next morning, his wife, who was finding strange the fact that he had not woke up early to have breakfast, met that man dead, in his room, as the couple was not sleeping in the same bed anymore. She promised herself to make from his funeral a great party of commemoration. When his employees knew about the death of their boss, they were very happy because did not have to bear such a hard man anymore. None of his children would go to his funeral. One day, the father had said they just wanted his money.
That rich man begun his life just like everybody, but had a terrible end. Everything could be different, if he had just put people above things.
It has already been more than two years since my first pastor died, but I still miss him a lot. There are days when I would like to ask him some questions, hear a sermon of his or share a meal. Even after his death, he still has taught me a lesson: when we miss a person who has already gone, it is because his life really had a great end.
I have to recognize that the rich man´s parable is a little bit strange: usually, God does not go around saying when people are going to die. Thus, I believe that fact teaches us something. That voice was an opportunity so that man could change his attitude from that day on. His past could be forgiven by God and by other people. That was the chance of a new beginning that would make his life have a really great end. But he did not pay attention to the warning.
Like that man, probably many of us have great “flawless” plans for our lives. Maybe, right now, we are doing everything, no matter what, to achieve our “perfect” goals – even putting things above people – maybe not. But one thing I know for sure: one day our life will come to an end. We can not know in advance when this day will come. However, we can decide to make today the beginning of a great end.
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