he Collegiate Letter   

The Collegiate Letter Life is a Vapor

By Dave Breese

It's springtime! This leads me to wish for you the happiest of spring times. Along with this delightful time of year comes warmer weather, budding flowers and a sense of anticipation toward the delights that spring and summer surely will bring. I know that the year seems to have passed a little slowly for you. However, let me tell you, the days and years move faster as we move from the present into the future. Soon so much of it slips away that we are in agreement with the question that James asked when he said, “For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away” (Jas. 4:14). “A vapor, that ... vanishes”—that's what life will be come before it is all over. What then shall we do with this life? We should, of course, use it but not abuse it. We should enjoy it but not worship it. We should invest it wisely be cause there is coming a time when we will have to answer the pointed question, “What have you done with these quickly passing years?” The answers to that question are bound to be amusing when some day (perhaps soon) we stand before God. One can easily imagine some of the possible answers at that time. They surely will include ...

  1. Because the basis of life is amusement, I had fun. Probably this answer will be so common that we can think of it as almost a standard. Indeed, if the basis of life is amusement and that's all there is, we are fools not to enjoy it.

    But alas, the basis of life is not amusement. The pleasures of this life only last for a little while. The Bible says they last “for a season” and then they are gone. The bright lights of the big city glow for awhile, but soon the town is a dark and cold place.

  2. Because the basis of life is money, I worked for riches. This would almost be a standard course of action going in our time as well. For most, money is the name of the game.

    The problem is that they forget what Jesus meant when He said, “Take heed, and be ware of covetousness: for a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses” (Lk. 12:15). By the way, few people who as pire toward riches really get rich. Even if they do, the government comes along and demands a very large piece of the action.

  3. Because the basis of life is humanitarian service, I worked for others. It is certainly a commendable thing to work with others. Where would our world be except for those who are willing to give themselves for the convenience and the life of some one else?

    But alas, even service for others has to be looked at with a perceptive eye. The Apostle Paul said, “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing” (I Cor. 13:3).

We often forget that there's a God who stands behind it all. When we for get this, we for get at the same time that the purpose for which we are here is to advance the will of God in the world, to labor for the success of His kingdom. God has given most of us great ability to tell others about Christ and His power to save. He has also given us a great message to bear, and that message is called, “the Gospel of the Grace of God.”

Many people know about religion in our world, but they know nothing of full and free salvation, which is ours gratuitously and completely when we receive Christ as personal Savior. The propagation of that message is the path that leads to life that is worth while. The purpose of life can be exactly defined. The Bible, speaking about Jesus Christ, says, “For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Heb. 2:10). What then is God doing? He is “bringing many sons to glory.” He is conducting a training school, a development program, a place of testing so that we, the sons of God, will have been perfected through the preparation on earth to properly conduct ourselves in heaven. Life is a school! Believe it or not, it is really true. Life itself is the greatest school there is.

Pay-Off In Eternity
I say this because many of us have asked often, “Why is life so hard?” “Why are the burdens so heavy?” and “Why don't things work out as I had hoped?” We know the answers to these questions when we remember that God does not intend for the world to be our permanent dwelling place, nor did He plan for things to work out perfectly in this world. In the midst of imperfection and problems, we learn many valuable disciplines that will pay off in eternity. Because of this, the Bible says that the trial of our faith is “much more precious than of gold that perishes” (I Pet. 1:7). More valuable than gold? Yes, a thousand times yes! To successfully surmount the frightening pit falls of life produces a quality in us that will make the difference for all of eternity.

My friend, Dr. George Ens, has produced a short piece of writing you will find to be very valuable. It is called “Your Choice: Life or Death” and it is a short tract which should be read by every young person. It gives a serious analysis of life, sex, procreation, abortion and other important subjects which are being pressed upon the young person in our time. I'm enclosing a copy and I hope that you will please take the time to read it. In fact, if you would like additional copies, take the time to write and I will see that you get them.

There are many students that have no proper appreciation of life and the delicate procreative mechanisms which God has built into every man and every woman. Dr. Ens practiced as a family physician for more than thirty years and there isn't much about this subject that he does not know.

In thinking about life, let's also remember that we are moving speedily from the present into the future.

“What does the future hold?”
Concerning this matter of the future, the Bible says, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed, as to a light that shines in a dark place” (II Pet. 1:19). Therefore, we can be sure that we will be greatly profited when we pay attention to the prophetic Word. God has told us what will happen in the days to come because, in His kindness, He does not want us to be ignorant of the things that are surely to break upon the world. Anything you may study in the classroom may be valuable, but it is only the word of men. The Word of God is, by contrast, absolutely dependable, totally reliable. Not one promise will ever fail to be fulfilled and not one word will be with out consequence.

There is coming a day when Christ will return for His Church and every living believer will be caught up to be with the Lord, along with the resurrected saints. What a day that will be! The challenging part of it is to remember that day, the day of the return of Christ, could happen at any time.

Am I Ready?
We must all, therefore, ask ourselves the questions, “Am I ready?” “Do I know Christ as my personal Savior?” “Is my life committed to Him so that I can serve Him well in this world?” The morning papers and the evening television news give us the word of events that certainly appear to be some of the signs of our times. When all of these things begin to come to pass, Jesus told us to look for a redemption that draws near.

What an event that will be! We should always remind ourselves that one day this world will be past and we—those of us who know Christ—will move from earth to heaven. This world is a very temporary dwelling place and heaven is for eternity.

Heaven is wonderful beyond description and will bring joys that are unavailable any where in this time and temporal world. About that, the Bible teaches, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him” (I Cor. 2:9). There will be a banquet table with cuisine more exquisite than we have known in this world. The streets will be of gold and the palaces of ivory. The best that anybody could have known on earth will be as nothing by comparison to the heaven that is before us. The contrast between earth and heaven is so pointed that the Bible says, “Set your affection on things above” (Col. 3:2). This means that we must force our selves to think regularly about heaven, to lift our minds and imaginations above the weird and wicked things of this world.

Two Invitations Extended
In thinking about heaven, I have two earnest invitations to extend. The first is to be sure that you are going to heaven. How? The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Secondly, take someone else with you. You can bear witness as a testimony for Christ, as a result of which others will be saved.

Considering all these things, let's be in touch. We should certainly pray for one another and believe God to help us in these challenging days. Don't run away, but rather, trust the Lord to help you in this awesome hour in world history to be the guy or the gal Christ would have you to be. Thanks for the opportunity to talk together. Carol and I send along our greetings and love. Take the time to write and request your copy of Prophecy In A Nutshell. God bless you in a great way!