Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The True Measure of a Person

Philippians 1:21

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

IMG_0301The true measure of a person – what could it be?  At times we measure ourselves by numbers.  I hit 60 recently – and this summer my bride and I will celebrate 35 years of marriage the Lord willing (she is a saint).  My babies are 32 and soon to be 27 (two of them).  I’ve lost 60 pounds and am told by my wife she wants me to lose 30 more. This fall I will hit 39 years since my call into ministry.  I shot an 81 the other day for 18 holes and wasn’t satisfied with the way I struck the ball.  We have four granddaughters now – two 2 year olds and 2 infants.  I just purchased a new car in the fall. My father died 3 years ago this September at the young age of 84.  My mom hit 87 in April. My retirement investments are finally recovered from the market drop several years ago and I hope they will even climb higher.  Numbers play a big part in our lives.

Numbers tell the tale – at times – of our lives.  What we make – what we have saved – how many children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren tells the tale of our family tree going forward.  Sports are filled with statistics and numbers play an important role for sure.  Some people measure their lives by numbers.  Some count how many cars and what they cost as a measure of their lives.  Some count the cost of their homes and even for others their summer homes.  Some count the number of vacations they take and where they go.  Some consider the size of their church or the size of their business.

What is it that measures your life?  What is the true measure of a person?  Although the family numbers are neat and I feel blessed to have a loving family and a growing one too – the real measure of a person – of a life well lived – can be summed up in one way and one way only.  A life well lived can be defined by one’s relationship with Jesus.  Paul was writing about this in today’s passage – For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  If he continued to live – it would be for Christ.  If he died – it would be gain – because he would go to be with Christ.  That is all that really held importance in Paul’s life.

Here is today’s passage in partial context – Philippians 1:20-26 – 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.

When we think of our desires in life – our legacy – to be remembered – to have a family – to live in comfort – to gain a certain measure of success – to own a home – to drive a nice car/truck – to be successful in life – none of them should be the measure of a person.  Yet that is the measure many in our society use.  The true measure of a person is their relationship with Jesus. All of the other things can be taken away – or at least not follow you to the grave.  But a relationship with Jesus is lasting – it is eternal – it will never fail us or leave us.  The true measure of a person is their relationship with Jesus!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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May 18, 2015 - Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , ,

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