[Column] Jesus Christ is the True Aspiration in Our Lives

There were two young men who grew close to each other. They were so-called hoodlums who indulged in drinking and lived licentiously. One day as they were passing by a church, the scene of the revival meeting entitled Eternal Life upon Belief caught their attention. While one of them insisted upon stopping by the meeting, the other strongly objected and suggested a saloon. In the end, one headed to the church and the other to the saloon. Thirty years passed and the young man who chose the saloon was in prison as a result of the crimes he had committed while continually living in sin. He was overwhelmed with daily boredom and self-contempt for having ruined his own life. Then he read a newspaper one morning and caught a glimpse of the Presidential Inauguration. It was the 22nd annual Inauguration and the name of the President was Grover Cleveland, the young man who chose the church. This came to him as a shock for the inauguration of his friend into office was a stark contrast to his own fate as a prison inmate. A remarkable politician, President Cleveland also served as the 24th President making him the only President to have served two consecutive terms. It was one little decision he made thirty years ago that changed his life and profoundly influenced American society. There may be those of you today who came here by coercion, out of curiosity, or by the request of a friend. Just like President Cleveland, we can change our future with the right choice; our fate takes a new turn.

Everyday hundreds of thousands of people die. Isn’t it a miracle that we are alive? God is grace. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:2, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.” We can learn the wisdom of life at a house of mourning by reflecting on our imminent fate. I will someday depart this place just like that. When leaving home and entering into a vehicle, people wish themselves and others well. Hence they say “Good bye” which literally means “God be with you.”

When death comes, help us accept it fully prepared. This is the prayer we must pray. A man visited an insurance agent to purchase life insurance and left upon realizing its high cost. On his way home, he was killed. He thought he would live a little longer but he died in the end. We do not know when God will take us. We know nothing about our deaths. Therefore we must grow humble before God. Instead of merely wishing for daily safety, protection, and well-being, we must pray, “Help us fully prepare for the day you take us.”

This is a true story of a Korean pastor named Kyum-il Na that happened while serving at Youngheung Church in Seoul, Korea in May of 1978. Thirty-two dead bodies were brought to a nearby hospital after traffic accidents. The hospital director who was an alumnus of the pastor’s college, the pastor, and a nurse and a doctor from the hospital all examined the bodies. The pastor said, “7 out of 32 people here went to heaven” and the rest wore a sardonic grin. He insisted, “It is true. Identify the seven individuals” and pointed at the bodies. A few days later, the doctor who examined the bodies told the pastor, “The seven individuals you identified, it turned out, were Christian. How did you know?” The pastor responded, “You are a doctor and you don’t even know that? The deceased usually turn a shade of grayish purple yet those who believe in Christ get a bright hue on their faces. Their faces are much brighter. Examine the dead bodies of Christians very carefully. You didn’t even know that?” As the doctor listened intently, he said, “Come to think of it, that’s right. Those I knew had sanguine expressions on their faces in death. They were a deacon and an elder who believed in Christ.” The nurse next to him agreed, “That’s true. That’s true.” The doctor and the nurse finally realized that God exists and went to church the following week.

We do not know when our lives will come to an end. That is another reason why we must go to church. You have a home to return to at night. Don’t you? Church is the home of God. We need a home for our souls. Man is originally sinner. He had to inherit eternal damnation in hell because of his sin but Christ the Son of God became man to deliver us. Man cannot save or forgive another man. He cannot redeem sin. Christ was born into this world to take unto Himself the sin of the world and die on the Cross. He shed His blood and was crucified for the sin of humanity; the sin of the past, present, and future. He completely redeemed us form sin. We must acknowledge and believe this. If we believe this we are redeemed and forgiven. Then we will like Christ live again after death. We will be resurrected. We will be ascended into heaven like Christ. We will live there eternally. We must believe this. If we only believe, we are forgiven.

There is an important truth to remember. Believing in Jesus Christ costs no money. Salvation is not bought by money. It is attained by faith. There is a funny story I’d like to tell you. Shortly after the Second World War, a passenger plane encountered malfunction and the captain hurriedly urged every passenger to jump off the plane. Nevertheless everyone was in panic and hesitant to jump. Then the captain told the German passengers, “It’s the command of Hitler. Jump!” The Germans immediately responded “Heil! Hitler!” and jumped. To the Japanese passengers, he said “It’s the command of the Emperor!” and they responded “Is that so (Soodesuka?)” and jumped. To the French passengers, he said, “Look at all those people. They jumped. How stylish. Isn’t that a new trend?” pointing at the passengers who have just jumped. The French passengers soon followed suit. To Americans, he said” Shouldn’t you adhere to majority rule?” and they all jumped. Now there was only one passenger left and he was Korean. After pondering for a while, he said, “Jumping off is free” and the Korean passenger replied saying “Is it really free?” and jumped. People show interest in things they can obtain for free, yet they simply ignore the free gift of Gospel given to sinners. They argue that it is too good to be true because it is free.

Only when we encounter Christ, our lives change. Our fate changes as well. In Him, there is eternal life, happiness, peace, and joy. We cannot by these with money. We cannot comprehend their value and worth by studying. We cannot attain these qualities through charity. Only when we embrace Jesus Christ as the hope of our lives, a divine and sacred dream is instilled in us. Then we no longer live for ourselves but for His purpose in our lives. We come to realize our true worth and commit our lives for His ministry. May each and every one of you attain salvation through encounter with Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and harbor holy dreams.

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