“Our most precious possession!”
American writer and lecturer Dale Carnagie said “Today is our most precious possession. It is our only sure possession.” Ancient Greek historian Herodutus maintained “Of all possessions a friend is the most precious.” Mark Twain cites “The universal brotherhood of man is our most precious possession.” John Locke, the English philosopher widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers, believed “All mankind... being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions.” Others have maintained things such as “personal liberty,” “friendship,” “health,” or “love of a spouse or a child.” I’m thinking that the great Patrick Henry, who at the Second Virginia Convention stated "Give me liberty, or give me death!" would fall on the personal liberty side of the matter.
I believe that all these great thinkers expected us to understand that “life itself” is the most precious possession. I believe that before they postured on the most precious possession, they accepted it as a given that life was in fact first. Even Patrick Henry knew that liberty depended on living to experience it. Our forefathers were willing to give the most precious possession they had, so that others could enjoy theirs more fully. All Americans just celebrated those who gave their lives in military service to preserve our liberty. I submit that they gave the most precious possession that they had, life, for others. So sometimes, it is life that is most precious, but not our own, it is someone else’s life! Mothers and fathers would demand to give their lives to save those of their children’s, be it to war, disease, or other factors. Usually, they cannot. Husbands and wives, (excluding the 50% who end up despising one or the other) have at times sacrificed themselves for their beloved. Life is most precious, but whose, which, and when?
I have been around long enough to see people actually want to give up their life. Some have asked me point blank, “Why isn’t God taking me?” One elderly gentleman, tired of the suffering that the process of death fostered upon him, looked me straight in the eye and said “Shoot me!” Men have mercilessly tortured other men for various reasons, prompting our forefathers to include the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which outlawed “cruel and unusual punishments.” That made such things as vigilante lynching illegal, but sadly it did not stop it from happening, where some victims would cry out for God’s merciful passing. If life is our most prized possession, there are many times when we are willing to part with it. Revelation 9:6 even speaks of a time of Great Tribulation this way “… And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.”
Here is God’s take on our most precious possession, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26-27.) Now “that” is our most prized possession: the eternal life of our souls. Not the seventy (more or less) years of this life, but true life in the LORD Jesus Christ. The man who said “shoot me” was ready to move on to the next life with Christ. The tortured man in agony seeks an end to the misery of this life. The Christian who has caught a glimpse of Heaven says with Paul, “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:” (Philippians 1:23.) At some point, the faithful are ready to say, “…. Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit:…” Yes, as precious as this life is, and it is, it is not precious at all in terms of our eternal life with Christ. Enjoy this life in all its beauty, but keep your eye on the next one, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18.) Christian, whatever trials you may be going through right now, “…comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:18.)
Eternal life is your possession! You own it, and it can never be taken away! Praise the LORD!! It is our most precious possession!
Love and Prayers to all,