Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.” “Which ones?” the man inquired. Jesus replied, “‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’” “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. (Matthew 19:16–22, NIV 1984).
“I [Paul] am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.” “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.” Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.” (Acts 26:22–29, NIV 1984).
My Musings – “There are two types of regret: The regrets we have after doing something and those that come from not doing something. Although regrets for our actions are often psychologically agonizing at first, their pain tends to diminish over time as we begin to either justify how they happened or find meaning in why they happened. Inaction, on the other hand, is something we hold on to, wishing we could turn back the clock and do things differently – an opportunity lost, a promise unfulfilled. Failing to act leaves open infinite possibilities of what might have been. Simply put, when looking back, people are more able to deal with the idea that they tried something and failed versus never trying at all.” (“Becoming Bulletproof,” by Evy Poumpouras).
A time is coming when we will all be looking back and unable to turn back the clock and do things differently. Sadly considering what might have been. Regretting not doing what should have been done, but powerless to change the outcome of missed opportunities.
My Advice – The Gospel is both “true and reasonable.” We owe it to ourselves to carefully consider, whether over a “short time or long,” the benefits of accepting the truth versus the consequences of rejecting it. But we must not deliberate too long, as the window of opportunity will not be open indefinitely. Neither great wealth (like the rich young ruler) nor political advantage (like Festus and Agrippa) will be able to secure it once the window closes. And remember, inaction is just as damning as outright rejection. Leaving only sadness, regret and great suffering, with all of eternity to look back upon it. Nothing is lost by carefully examining the truth claims of the Gospel if it is not true. But if it is true, failing to take action will cost us eternal life, relegating us to an eternity in hell.