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"What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26 NIV)
It has not been my lot in life to rub shoulders with people that are commonly known as the rich and famous. However, along the way, there have been some people to cross my path that have accumulated a lot of this world's goods, along with some fame in their field of endeavor.
One such man made many positive impressions on me as a young businessman because of his strict work ethic and his reputation among most people as an honest businessman. He even once was a delegate to nominate Dwight D. Eisenhower for President and he cherished his "I Like Ike" pens all his life.
Howard received a quality higher education as a young man and went on to graduate from law school, but chose not to practice law. Instead, he founded various enterprises that helped finance the purchase large tracts of real estate. At one time, he had bought up several thousand acres of timberland and other properties, mostly in two states.
He was certainly not guilty of hording up his income. His donations to help finance church buildings made him a person well known among Christians in several states. He and his good wife also loved to support preachers who were involved with mission work or were involved with training young preachers. They had a nice roomy home, certainly not a mansion, but plenty of room for family and many guests. On any given Sunday, the dinner table was a place for delicious food and exciting conversation about goings-on in the congregation, world events and the danger of that "communist" LBJ.
Each new day seemed to offer him a new adventure to pursue to the hilt. He had the habit of rising well before sunrise, having a full breakfast and then off to the office to scan the Wall Street Journal. When he heard of an opportunity to acquire some land at a bargain price, he was running at full steam. He had a very strong competitive streak that was noticeable whenever someone would win a bid that he thought should have gone to him. He never gave up easy on any potential deal.
On just one such day filled with competitive opportunities, while on the way to the Post Office to mail off a bid, he was overcome by a sudden heart attack and his life was taken away in a brief moment. All the thousands of acres of land and other holdings suddenly belonged to someone else. The plans to develop this or that property into a cattle ranch or some other venture ended abruptly along with that last breath.
Jesus Christ issued stern warnings regarding the time of his appearing by referring back to the days of Noah and the destructive flood. Right up until the time that Noah and his family entered the ark, along with all the animals, people were continuing to live without regard for God and His righteousness. We know from the apostle Peter, that Noah was also a preacher of righteousness. It falls upon the preacher more than the teacher, doctor, lawyer, judge or President to warn people about God's coming wrath against those who refuse to accept Jesus Christ in their heart as king eternal.
Thousands upon thousands of acres of land and numerous homes instantly went up in flames recently during those wildfires in California. We witnessed the heartache of many families who were grieving over their losses of certain valuable items that more or less defined their lives. Some told about losing all their family photo albums, and you could sympathize with their loss. Then one day a news story covered a young girl who told reporters that she was happy that she still had her life and her puppy. She went on to say almost with adult wisdom, that not all those things were important.
My dear friends, some day perhaps sooner than we think, we will meet our Maker. Do you remember what we would say when playing Hide and Seek? After we would count to 100 by fives or tens, we would yell, "coming, ready or not." That is just the way our Lord will suddenly appear in the atmosphere and everyone will be aware of His glorious presence.
When Christ our King comes to earth the second and final time, He will not come as a helpless infant. Rather, Christ will appear as the King of the World with such powerful and regal splendor that knees of the ungodly and wicked will quake with fear.
Thousand of years ago, God told Noah that the great deluge of rain would begin in seven days. Noah had a week to prepare for his and his families? salvation. Now is the day of our salvation! How long are you going to continue simply listening to Gospel sermons that tell how Christ came to this world the first time on a mission to save sinners? Will you just keep on hoping that you will have one more week or day before the end comes so that you can get your spiritual house in order?
I am not ashamed to plead with you earnestly to accept the precious gift of salvation. Forgiveness of our sins comes at a very high price and deserves our highest attention. This day can be your own personal day of salvation. Believe with all your heart that Jesus of Nazareth, who descended from David of Israel in a human manner, is the Son of God. Confess with your mouth that you sincerely are ready to place Christ at the highest place in your heart. Repent of all sins rather than only feeling sorry for yourself or blaming someone else for all your troubles. Jesus teaches that believers must be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
You can experience the new birth and then live a much richer and fuller life than you ever dreamed possible. We have all dreamed of life without worries and cares and to be with someone we truly love. Someday after all the struggles of this life, we can have such a joyful and blissful life with other loved ones who gave their hearts to Christ. The choice is yours to make. Your eternal soul is worth far more than all the wealth and fame of this world.
You are invited to all services of the Church of Christ at the corner of 3rd and E Streets. Write me with any questions or comments. David Binkley, Sr., PO Box 186 Cedar Key, FL 32625. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Please visit our web site at www.cedarkeychurchofchrist.com