Make Life Count

‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’ 2 Timothy 4:7 NIV

In Mount Hope Cemetery, Hiawatha, Kansas, you’ll find several large gravestones erected by a bloke named John Milburn Davis. Davis began work life as a labourer but managed to amass quite a big fortune. In the process, he didn’t make many friends. He married but he wasn’t close to his wife’s family, because they thought she could have done better for herself than a common labourer. Embittered, he vowed not to leave them a cent. When his wife died, Davis erected an elaborate statue depicting her sitting with him on opposite sides of a love seat.

He was so pleased with it that he planned a second monument, with his wife kneeling to place a wreath at his future graveside. Then he had a sculptor place a set of wings on her back. One idea led to another, until he had spent quarter-of-a-million dollars on tributes to his wife and himself. When people asked him to contribute to the local hospital, or a swimming pool for children, he’d say, ‘What’s this town ever done for me?’ Davis spent his life’s fortune on statues and died lonely and impoverished at 92.

And what happened to his monuments? All of them are slowly sinking into the Kansas soil—victims of time, vandalism, and neglect; memorials to spite and self-centred living. There’s a certain poetic justice in the fact that, within a few years, they’ll all be gone. Only one person attended Davis’ funeral—Horace England, the tombstone salesman!

Don’t let other people’s opinions get to you and embitter you—instead make your life count for God!

SoulFood: Esther 4:13–5:3, Matt 6:16–21, Mark 2:18–22

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2021

Today’s Readings

Esther 4:13–5:3

13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” 17 Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.

5:1 On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace, in front of the king’s quarters, while the king was sitting on his royal throne inside the throne room opposite the entrance to the palace. And when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won favor in his sight, and he held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter. And the king said to her, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you, even to the half of my kingdom.”

Matthew 6:16–21

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Mark 2:18–22

18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”

Sun 08 August, 2021


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