it’s like a box of chocolates
If you are ever inclined to be philosophical, try an internet search for quotes that begin with the words “life is…”
Some of my favourites are:
- “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” (John Lennon).
- “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” (Albert Einstein).
- “Life’s hard. It’s even harder when you’re stupid.” (John Wayne).
- “Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect.” (Margaret Mitchell).
- “Life … is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” (William Shakespeare, Macbeth).
- …And then there’s my favourite “life is…” quote of all, attributed to Forrest Gump’s mother: “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.”
It seems that almost everybody has an idea or two about life, but we all do not agree. Even if we were unified, who’s to say that we would be right? What we need is advice from the One who invented life. We can find such advice, but we have to look in the right place – the Bible.
The most prevalent message in the Bible about life is that it is limited. It is a precious thing because it runs out. Life has a beginning and an end, and the end always comes too soon. The Bible says “our days on earth are a shadow.” Our days pass by quickly, disappearing as soon as the light hits them. Job said “Man who is born of a woman …flees like a shadow and continues not.” You cannot look at a shadow, and come back in an hour or two and find it in the same place. Like life, shadows are always coming and going. Shadows do not stay put. You never know what you’re going to get when you open the box of chocolates, but you know it won’t last very long.
Lots of things just seem unfair, particularly the more we realize that the limits of life do not allow for do-overs. Often we realize too late that our days are like an evening shadow, soon to be over – swallowed up in death, and nothing we can do will change that fact. Robert Harris said “The true currency of life is time, not money, and we’ve all got a limited stock of that.” As we conclude our study of the gift of life, I want to leave you with a word of application. Since the Bible teaches that we are mortal, and our lives are limited, don’t waste your life currency. Don’t waste your limited time doing things that will not matter in eternity.
And now a short summary of the 23 lessons in this series:
- Life is a gift, not a given. Socrates was wrong: only God has immortality. We are dependent on him for life.
- Having a soul does not make us immortal. Animals have souls.
- In our sinful state, being immortal would be a curse, not a blessing.
- Death is not going to a better place. It is not the answer to our problems. Christ is. Death is sleep – an unconscious wait for the resurrection. The dead go to a silent, dark state or condition in which everyone exists at death. In that state we know nothing, and can only live again by a resurrection from the LORD.
- Hell is a reality, but it does not take place at death. It is the future lake of fire in which God will punish the lost with everlasting destruction.
- The hope of resurrection is essential to the gospel message, and it should never be replaced by a hope of going to heaven at death.
If you have any questions about this teaching, you can ask me at email@example.com. Thank you for joining me in this series as we have searched the scriptures to learn about the gift of life.
Listen to the audio file at Afterlife.
“God’s purposes were for Israel to live in the land so that eventually God’s promised redemption of the world would be achieved, though this would mean dispossessing the Canaanites. No other country in history was set apart for this purpose or party to this covenant.”
Paul Copan & Matthew Flannagan, Did God Really Command Genocide? (Kindle location 1091).