Appreciating Life and the Life-giver
DO YOU find pleasure in the beauty of a well-planned flower garden? Do you find keen delight in breathing the fresh air of a woodland or in zipping down a snow-covered mountainside on skis? Are you thrilled at the sight of awe-inspiring scenery? Are you enraptured by the strains of beautiful music? Whatever it is that brings pleasure and delight to you can be enjoyed only because you have life. Without it you could enjoy none of the things that are dear to you. It is your most valuable and, possibly, least appreciated possession.
Because life is commonplace and you have possessed it for many years is no reason to think little of it and put it in jeopardy for the momentary thrill of doing something dangerous. The thrill you may gain is not equal to what you may lose. The same can be said about foolish efforts to rescue a material possession from destruction at the risk of your life. Your life is not like a piece of machinery that can be replaced when it is damaged and ceases to function. It is more valuable than any thrill you could have or any material possession. As far as human efforts are concerned, it is irreplaceable.
You do not possess life because you earned it or because you were entitled to it. Your parents did not originate it, although they were responsible for your being born. They merely passed on to you the life force that was given to mankind a long time ago. Life is a gift from God. It is because of his free gift that you have a conscious existence today. Acknowledging Jehovah as man’s Life-giver, a Bible writer said: “He himself gives to all persons life and breath and all things. And he made out of one man every nation of men, to dwell upon the entire surface of the earth.” (Acts 17:25, 26) Consider also what Elihu stated: “God’s own spirit made me, and the Almighty’s own breath proceeded to bring me to life.” (Job 33:4) These men were not ashamed to acknowledge God as the One who gave them life; are you?
When someone gives you a valuable gift, do you accept it without expressing gratitude for it? Do you later deny before others that he gave it to you? While you may not be such an ingrate regarding gifts from your friends, what about gifts from God? Do you ever express gratitude for them? Do you ever thank him for the privilege of living and being able to learn about him and the magnificent things he has made? Are you so busy living that you have no time to appreciate your Life-giver and his gifts? Little effort is required on your part to express in prayer your sincere gratitude.
If you appreciate the Life-giver, you will respect his will and be willing to abide by it. But if you never make an effort to learn what his will is, can it be said that you truly respect it? Can it be said that you appreciate him if you can find time to read newspapers, watch television, attend movies, tinker with your hobbies but never have time to study his written Word to learn what his will is? If the head of your nation dictated a letter and had it sent to you, would you be so busy you could never find time to read it? As you would give that communication your closest attention, so should you give close attention to the communication that comes from the Ruler of the universe. His will for man is contained in his written Word, the Holy Bible. Show your respect and appreciation for him by taking time to learn what he has had written down for our instruction.
Long ago King David manifested his appreciation of the great Life-giver when he urged others to show their gratitude: “Thank Jehovah, call upon his name, make his deeds known among the peoples! Sing to him, make melody to him, talk of all his wonderful acts. Make your boast in his holy name, let the heart of those seeking Jehovah rejoice. Search after Jehovah and his strength, seek his face constantly.”—1 Chron. 16:8-11.
The loving-kindness of the Life-giver is shown by another great gift, but this gift is not given indiscriminately to everyone. It is given to those who indicate in advance that they would appreciate it. This gift is life everlasting. As God was able to give man life in the beginning, he is able to extend it indefinitely. While life itself is a wonderful gift, eternal life is a magnificent one. Since it has been promised by One who cannot lie and who never has failed to keep a promise, mankind can look forward confidently to receiving it. His written Word gives us the “hope of the everlasting life which God, who cannot lie, promised long ago.”—Titus 1:2.
If you do not appreciate the gift of life you now enjoy, why should the Life-giver present you with the gift of eternal life? That gift is reserved for those who love him and who gratefully express their appreciation for him by words and deeds. It is a reward for faithfulness and integrity. He will no more give it to ungrateful persons than you would give a superb gift to a person who has shown no gratitude for all your previous gifts.
Since life is your most precious possession and you must have it to enjoy the many good things in which you find pleasure, obtaining the gift of eternal life should be your chief objective. With it the joys of existence will extend far beyond the brief life span we now have. In comparison our life today is like a passing vapor. If you appreciate the gift of life you now have, you will seek the greater gift of eternal life. To get it you must prove yourself worthy of it by learning and doing the will of the Life-giver.
For all the gifts you have received from him and for those he has promised, give thanks. “Thank Jehovah, for he is good, for to everlasting is his loving-kindness.”—1 Chron. 16:34.