Many centuries ago, there was a notable old time preacher who lived in this terrestrial globe, precisely in Palestine. His birth was unparalleled – an angel announced His conception though not noble at birth. While many of his contemporaries were born in befitting Medical centers of their day, he was born in a sheep pen in Bethlehem. And because an angel announced him as the king of the Jew, he was persecuted by the government of the day at birth. At age thirty he began his ministry having being baptized by a renowned evangelist of his time otherwise called John the Baptist. His messages were powerful, punchy and anointed. His words penetrated people’s hearts with heavy conviction. Hence, many were converted through his teachings.
The religious leaders of his time hated and teamed up against him because his messages exposed their cunning misdeeds, sloth and hypocrisies. He was an itinerant minister who preached and made disciples in villages, towns and cities. He was hated by some and loved by another. Beside preaching and teaching, he also performed diverse healings and miracles– this attracted multitudes to his meetings. Indeed, the preacher was truly passionate about the salvation and healing of the entire race of man. The preacher I’m talking about was none other than JESUS.
While I’m not particularly concerned about the nature of His various sermons in this piece, I wish to share with you an incident that happened in one of His big meetings. But before I venture into that, I need to let you know that the purpose of writing this piece is to let the modern day fellow hear His voice again– the voice of their Savior. Of course, not to only hear Him, but to glean wisdom from His ever relevant teachings. On that fateful day, He had warned His disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees when multitudes of people gathered to hear Him. Suddenly, someone called from the crowd and said: “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.” See Luke 12:13.
Despite that the man’s request interrupted Jesus’ sermon, He took out time to respond to him decisively. And now, we are also learning from His response to the man. But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses”. (Luke 12:14-15 NKJV) The common belief and assessment of men (both gender) about the quality of man’s life over the years has been ability to possess great material possessions, academic papers, professional acumen and several credited achievements. On the contrary, Jesus makes it clear here that the generally agreed and accepted assessment of men is totally wrong.
It possesses negative attributes compared to the real view of God– the manufacturer of all things. The Bible is the manufacturer’s manual written by God to give needed prescriptions and directions on how He designed the life of man to be operated, lived or run. Having the right understanding will help every one of us to bring adequate or required check to covetousness in our lives. It will also help us to begin to view our lives from God’s perspective. I humbly pray at this juncture that God will grant you deeper understanding of His mind as we begin to examine some wrong yardsticks you may have been using to measure the quality of your life.
Please dear reader, if you have been using the yardsticks we would discuss in this write-up to measure the level of the quality of your life, you need to desist from doing so. It will always make you to arrive at a wrong estimation of yourself. Likewise, it will always push you against God’s standard. Once again, let us carefully examine our study text together for a vivid understanding: For one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses. (Luke 12:15b NKJV) Real life is not measured by how much you own. (NLT) …for a man’s life does not consist in and is not derived from possessing overflowing abundance or that which is over and above his needs. (AMP)This passage brings to fore the fact that physical possession should not be used to determine the quality of any man’s life.
So dear reader what material things do you possess or own? None of those things can, in actual sense, be used to determine the quality of your life. The fact that you own them does not, in any way, reveal your real person. The quality of your life resides deep down in your inner man. The revelation of your spirit man is actually the revelation of your person and is also the revelation of the quality of your life. The quality of your spirit is the quality of your life. Having established that, I think we can now begin to examine the wrong yardsticks one after the other. May the entrance of God’s word bring light and understanding to your heart in Jesus’ name. Amen
The yardstick to measuring the quality of a man’s life is not in wealth, flashy cars, luxurious mansions, shares in banks or in any other financial institutions etc. The quality of your life does not lie in any of those possessions. Were it so, Nicodemus wouldn’t have had any reason to covertly come to Jesus in the night. Of course, by the time he came to Jesus, he was already a qualified, practicing Pharisee and also a leader of the Jews. By physical analysis of Nicodemus’ profile, I suppose him a very wealthy man full of honor, influence and affluence. But in spite of all his earthly possessions and qualifications, he could still discover a hollow in his life. See John 3. If you are familiar with the illustration of the rich young ruler in the Bible, it will be more apt here.
Meanwhile Jesus emphasized to uncle Nic, “Most assuredly I say unto you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3 NKJV) May it be known unto you that your life is worth nothing in God’s sight until you are born again! Though God loves you, He hates the sin in your life. Make your life count before God today by giving the totality of your life to Jesus. Repent from your sinful ways and stop sinning and Jesus will occupy His space in your life. Then, your life will be of great value before God. How I pray that all the rich folks and aspirants of riches in our time will come to the same realization as brother Nic and run to Jesus!
Really, one of the major implements the Devil is using to mislead and ruin people’s life in our time is pride of heart (self pride). Pride in what one physically possesses. The devil has succeeded in deceiving our generation into making material possession a major yardstick for determining the quality of our lives. Nowadays the principle is, “How rich you are determines how honorable and valued you become.”
Sequel to this belief, armed robbers, drug pushers, human traffickers, whore, whoremasters, fraudsters, smugglers, money ritualists, kidnappers, militants, and at times terrorists have been publicly honored in different nations of the world while the righteous and faithful are often ignored. This is possible because we are no longer concerned about the means of people’s riches our interest is only in their wealth. Pride in some fellow (now compared to when they had nothing,) prior to the acquisition of material possessions, have grown greatly to the extent that it reflects in their words, facial looks, body postures and gestures, actions, reactions and relationships. May the Lord deliver us from the schemes of the devil!
Howbeit, the case is not different in the contemporary politics. At present, only the rich are given the privilege to aspire and contest for political offices. These days the political stage is mostly set for rich and dubious men while the poor masses were made to cast their votes for wrong candidates because of money without caring about their dubious lives. See Ecclesiastes 9:14 16. That is why we are running into series of problems in our governance. If there will be change in our governance in this nation, we must stop using wealth as a yardstick to elect people to political offices.
Rather, we must start using divine yardstick to assess and measure the quality of people’s lives before we decide whether we will appoint them or not. Now dear reader, hope you also have not been using material possession to determine the quality of your life and of the lives of the people around you. As far as God is concerned, no matter the size of your material possession, your life is yet to be valuable before Him until you consciously welcome Jesus into your life.
Having material possessions excluding Jesus will surely land you in great crisis both here on earth and in eternity. A life without Christ is a life defined with crisis. Life is useless, miserable, empty and meaningless without Jesus. A life without Jesus is corrupt, fake and polluted. In fact, spiritually speaking, you have not started living until you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior – you just exist! Nothing unique and eternal can come through and out of your life without embracing Jesus.
Indeed, outside Jesus, all your so called achievements are not better than vanity. Life is like pursuing the wind when one shuts the door of his or her heart against Jesus. If you’ve not genuinely accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, I passionately implore you to run to Him now while you still have your breath and your life will be turned around for better. Jesus will deliver you from empty and vain life. He will fill your life with heavenly treasure.
ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS
Apart from material possessions, another thing many people place high importance on and greatly hold in high esteem in this generation is their personal academic and professional status. Those who have titles always want to be acknowledged of their status whether academically or professionally whenever they are addressed. Many are even offended and will dare to protest when people called their names without adding their titles.
This is not limited to a certain group of people or religion in the world. I once heard of a man who happened to be an academic and a PhD holder who refused to stand up in an occasion when the master of the ceremony failed to acknowledge his status as he invited him to the high table. Well, my dear reader, I strongly believe that people will not place great importance on their personal status if they had not placed it as one of the yardsticks to estimate and reveal the quality of man’s life. People protect and also attribute great value to their personal status today because they think when they are called by it men will promptly discover the quality of their lives.
This is not so since the quality of a man’s life can never reside in academic certificates (paper) and professional qualifications. In fact, there are people who have great achievements to their credit in the academic and professional world, who still misbehave and trouble the world. A fitting example of this was an associate professor with the Premier University of Nigeria, University of Ibadan who I was privileged to travel with sometimes in 2011 from Ogbomoso to the city of Ibadan. Of course, this Academic has a wife– who was also a lecturer in the University of Lagos, yet he was still having an affair with an undergraduate of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso whom he called his girl friend.
Dear reader, could you imagine a whole married and enlightened man still engaging in marital infidelity like our fore fathers who never go to school. That is the society we find ourselves. This, obviously, is another reason we can’t afford to make the mistake of placing academic and professional status as a yardstick for measuring the quality of any man’s life.
From the presentation of the New Living Translation of Luke 12:15 which says, “Real life is not measured by how much we own.” It becomes clearer that it is only a fake life whose quality can be measured using physical possessions and professional achievements. So, whenever we try to use (such) a man’s physical academic or professional achievements to determine the quality of his life, we should know from here that we are using a wrong yardstick.
And we cannot arrive at the right estimation of such a life because that is not the divinely approved yardstick for measurement. “Perhaps you have a wonderful reputation. People introduce you as professor so and so and then list out all your achievements and that is actually all you spend your life doing. You spend all your life in the laboratory, just to be called a professor; but outside the laboratory your life means nothing. What does God call you, Prof? God called that man a fool. Will He say concerning you…, “Look at this fool? I lent him sixty years. He spent fifty-nine of it pursuing paper, ordinary paper qualification and pursuing fame with men; but he has no record with Me. What a fool! I gave this man intelligence; he has never sat down one day to ask, “God, what do I do with ground of my intelligence that has brought out plentifully?” rather he sat down to plan to possess the tomorrow that may never be his.” Writes, Gbile Akanni.
BODY BEAUTY AND HANDSOME FEATURE
As good as body beauty and handsome feature is, it is also not part of the yardsticks to measure the quality of any man’s life. Your real person doesn’t have anything to do with whether you are physically beautiful or ugly. Man is created by God to be of three separate but coupled compartments: the spirit, soul and body. The human body is just a cover, container or house etc. for man’s real person. So what you see on yourself whom you call beauty is not your real person. Hence, it cannot in any way determine who you really are.
Man’s body is subject to corruption, destruction and decay. Body beauty fades due to age and it is also subject to change when damaged. So, how could what fades and is subject to deformity and damage determines the quality of a man’s life? What determines who a man really is, is the man’s spirit. You need to know from here that the quality of your life does not reside nor has anything to do with your physical appearance. Your real person resides deep down in your inside. So don’t be deceived to keep thinking that your physical body beauty or handsomeness speaks of the quality of your life.
That is a devil’s deceptive thought, and you need to delete it from your heart. To this end God exhort women in 1Peter 3:3-5 that; “Do not let your adornment be merely outward — arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel — rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves…” (NKJV)
The way people celebrate body beauty in women and handsome feature in men in our time shows that we have picked it as one of the yardsticks to determine the quality of our lives. It is obvious that many are ignorant of the fact that the quality of man’s life did not dwell in the physical beauty or handsome feature. In the world today, evidences abound that great percentage of beautiful women and handsome men who have not given the total control of their lives to Jesus live corrupt life.
Many of the acclaimed most beautiful women in the world are always high minded; not wanting to put themselves under the authority of a man. The marriage of some of those who even attempted it, often end in shamble. This is because they have idolized their personal beauty. A beautiful or handsome individual can still misbehave. Bachelors and spinsters should learn here; don’t make a life time mistake of using body beauty to determine whom you will marry.
There are many physically beautiful people who are really decaying on the inside. A person with admired body beauty who has not accepted Christ and lacks character lives corrupt life though may not be so glaring. Many adults who made this terrible mistake when they were to decide who to marry have better warning for us. May you never go through what they experienced; you are enlightened and warned. Finally, beloved, hope you have not made your beauty an idol in your heart? If you have, you’d better repent and turn a new live.
As I try to draw the Curtain of this very matter, dear reader, I need to let you know that there are many other Wrong Yardsticks people are using to measure the quality of their life apart from the one I write on. If God permit, I will write on others later. Meanwhile, you are implored to ponder on all the mentioned wrong yardsticks so as to discover where you have been using any of it to determine your life’s quality; hence stop doing so. Pray earnestly to God to change your wrong mindset about man’s life. And ask Him to enable you to begin assessing your life and the lives of people around you with God’s own yardsticks.
By Sola Alabi