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—Dr. Sam Smith is the organizer of Butterfly Ministries and can be reached at ssmithkate@aol.com.

“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.”

(Ecclesiastes 12:13)

Have you read Ecclesiastes lately? Reading this book by King Solomon can leave you feeling like you wrapped yourself in a wet, soggy blanket on a cold day – not good. Praise God that Ecclesiastes was not the only book of the Bible. It does teach us one good thing, however, and it may be the most important lesson of all –

A life centered on God will make it all worth while. A life not centered on God is meaningless. (“Meaningless” appears 37 times in Ecclesiastes, the author was serious about it.)

Why is a life not centered on God meaningless? The short answer is, “It is hopeless.” This life will end. Even atheists will agree with that fact. But the death of the body is not the end. Humans are spirit beings that live in a physical body for a time – a very short time compared to eternity. After the body dies, the spirit lives on. Where the spirit spends eternity is determined by one factor: belief in Jesus Christ as Savior. A God-centered life is one that knows that Jesus was Emmanuel – God with us. His death and resurrection were for forgiveness of sins and eternity in heaven. Belief in that truth gives us hope for eternity in paradise. Disbelief in that truth means eternal suffering.

A life not centered on God is meaningless because there is no understanding of the way God blesses and cares for His children. If you are a Believer, can you imagine how sad it is for non-believers to never know that God has sent the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort them, that He sends angels to look over them, that He will love them unconditionally? They never realize that God is sovereign, that He controls everything. They never know that God has a purpose for every life, and that faith in Christ leads to a life of joy and hope. They never understand that God created the universe and all of nature for us to enjoy. A life lived for Christ is far from meaningless.

So, how do we assure that our life is not meaningless? Live for Jesus and encourage others to do the same. The Bible tells us that heaven rejoices when a sinner repents. (Luke 15:7) We can add meaning to our lives by witnessing and helping others know Jesus. In fact, that is the most important thing we can do with our lives.

The purpose of our lives is not to make money and obtain material possessions. There is nothing wrong with those things as long as we realize that living for Jesus must take top priority. Our material possessions will disappear someday, and they will not mean a thing to us when our life on earth is over. (No u-haul behind our hearse.) Our relationship with Jesus will be all that matters when we die, and it should be all the really matters now. “Fear God, and keep His commandments…” Live a God-centered life. Live for Christ and live forever – in paradise. Amen.

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—Dr. Sam Smith is the organizer of Butterfly Ministries and can be reached at ssmithkate@aol.com.