Does “X” Matter?
I had a conversation with a friend, and I said, “X doesn’t really matter. It’s not a requirement for salvation.” I don’t know if offended her when I said that, and at the same time, I wasn’t sure I should have made that statement. “X” is something that really matters to a lot of people. It’s something that matters to me.
What “X” represents in the statement above is not critical for this dialogue. In fact, you can insert whatever it is that you value most in this life as the substitute for “X.” The only substitute you cannot use is God (i.e., the Lord Jesus Christ) because that would be heresy.
So, “X” could be not being poor, never getting sick with a life-altering disease, starting your own business, having a good education, buying a house, having a family, or traveling to as many countries as possible.
Do these things matter? Certainly. Arguably, we might say some of these things matter more than the others. But, what if none of these is greater than the other? What if none of these things matters the most?
I am not confident that it ultimately matters that we are able to achieve or receive what we most value in life, whether it be not to be poor, to be self-sufficient, or have the most epic family. I think what matters is what we did with the life that we were given.
For example, you have a life in which you were born into poverty, and for whatever reason(s), you were unable to escape poverty, your socioeconomic status is not held against you when you stand before the Judgement Seat. What really matters is what you did with the life you had.
Will the Lord say He knows you (Matthew 7:21–23)? That’s what matters.
The answer to that question depends on what you did with the life He selected for you. You can’t pick the family you are born into, nor do you have authority over a lot of other things that do or do not happen to you. But, you can control how you respond to and navigate the life that you have.
How did you treat the other people the Lord placed in your life? How did you treat your spouse and your kids? How did you treat your siblings and your parents? Were you a witness in your spheres of influence? Did you stand for what was true and right when no one else did? Did you suffer for Christ? Did you lay down your life and follow Him (John 13:8)? Was your life a testimony?
Did you say, “Not my will, but your will be done?” (Luke 22:42).
Or, did you go out into the world, dissatisfied with the life you have and manipulate people and finagle situations to get what you want? Did your lack of “X,” even if it severely impacts your quality of life, such as having a terrible cancer, transform you into someone bitter and ungrateful and hateful? I think that attitude of dissatisfaction, disgust and hate for what Lord intended, and/or intentional manipulation of life to get what you want matter far more than “X.”
How did you spend the life you have? How did you use what the Lord has given you—even if it’s difficult or not what you want—for His glory?
What is the point of achieving “X” if, in some cases, you gain the world and lose your soul (Mark 8:36)? One day, both the world and you and “X” will disappear, and only one thing will matter.
Did He know you?
Very thought provoking words. A lot comes of thoughts come to mind when as I find myself wrestling with life and learning to be grateful to God with the life I have. I was raised in poverty to a degree and can really relate to those who ask God why this was the lot they were given. It seems for me in American culture, there is a stereotypical life that “everyone” in this country has and they “all” have the same opportunities as everyone else. But, understanding that is not true at all I can hear people asking God why they come from generations who’ve struggled and never made it out while being devoted Christians. I think of the parable of talents when a master gave his 3 servants a different amount of talents and how the one who went and buried his was the one who was scolded. What if no one ever taught him what to do with his talents? How can he go and multiply his talents if he’s never seen it done? I agree that whatever “cards we’ve been dealt” in life should be to the glory of God, but that honestly is difficult sometimes. Social media doesn’t help when all you see are people happy and seemingly having good lives with everything going perfect and while you are struggling trying to get out.
It seems some peoples “X” has created a dangerous level of pride and replaced God altogether. Whether it is the desire to be “successful” by creating great wealth through worldly means, the dominance of their political views that even define Christianity itself, or feeling entitled to Heaven because of where they take up residence on His Earth, ever hearing “Lord not my will, but your will” does not seem close to their lips.
Ecclesiastes 1:14 says, “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” It makes you wonder the reason for pride in the first place when the toil to achieve worldly desires on Earth will ultimately come to an end and only what has been done for God matters.
Thanks for taking the time to read, Will. I think your statement about pride and the hierarchy people make by “comparing themselves among themselves” is a huge issue. All I know is that pride is sin, and that prosperity (of all types) and ideology have become gods for a lot of people.
I can’t help but think of the verse that talks about followers of Christ who will have no place to lay their heads. Christians, for example, boast about their homes, and very famous/wealthy ones buy multi-million dollar homes. It doesn’t matter if we have no home to sleep in, but that we follow Christ. What a contrast! I like my comforts of life. I wonder, sometimes, how much I am willing to sacrifice.
Being a (true) Christian is not for the faint of heart.