• Rev. Mark Tews

What Have You Learned?

During the journey through space and time that each of us has in this life, we gain wisdom and understanding. Experience is a great teacher. We in turn, as parents and adults, are to teach our children and our young people. But teach them what exactly?

We must teach them that everything in life is part of God’s plan. Everything that happens, everyone who crosses our path, and every choice we make has a divine outcome. We may think that we are in control and we may think that no one else sees us. However, God, the Great I AM, knows every decision you will make before you even think it. God knows the desires in our hearts and minds. God sees when we dance too close to the fires of sinful thoughts and find ourselves overcome by things we should have avoided.

God has laid the very foundation of our faith and has poured into each of us enough to get us through each day. This is a lesson we should be teaching young people in our lives as they prepare to start their own life journeys. If you knew that a portion of your street was full of huge potholes, you would likely do one of two things: either you would take a different route or you would learn where the potholes are and drive around them. As parents and adults, we have a huge responsibility to give our children and young people a head start in life by teaching them from our experiences. Before you can teach, you must answer: “What have you learned?”

Have you walked through life wearing rose-colored glasses, having a casual, nonserious relationship with God? Or have you fallen down on your knees, confessed your sins, and sacrificed your entire self to Him in an effort to know Him intimately? How can we teach our children and young people if we ourselves are just skating through life? How can we teach them if we are still trying to live like we are still children, trying to restore things we know are best left in the past?

In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon set out to find the meaning of life. In all his searching, Solomon realized that everything was vain, empty, and without meaning. The only thing that had any meaning and purpose was our servitude to God. Solomon closed his study on life with this: “So then, banish anxiety (fear) from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are meaningless. Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 11:10, 12:13–14).

Youth is the time of greatest vigor, when the sense of enjoyment is at its sharpest. Cares and worries do not corrode young minds, nor has hope lost its charm. But as youths delight in their youth, teach them to do it well: a life devoted to earthly pleasures has no lasting worth. Those who live to satisfy their earthly desires live unmindful of the duty given to mankind by God. At the end of their lives, they will find they have been grasping at shadows if they do not know God. Unless you have the hope of Christ Jesus, you will never be satisfied.

Someday, we will not be judged in masses, but each one of us will be judged for our own sins. With this in mind and knowing that you will stand before the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God, what have you learned? The worth of each person’s life will be weighed and measured and the true character of each person will be revealed. Those who acknowledge God and are governed by His Will have nothing to fear. But those who have forgotten God and have lived without responsibility have everything to fear from God. For He will put all sin out of His sight. Nothing that is evil can live in His presence in heaven.

All of us await His judgment, so don’t treat your life too lightly. Don’t think that you can change your thinking or way of living tomorrow because tomorrow may not come for you. “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s Will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” (James 4:13–17).

Everyone ought to be asking themselves, “Lord, what have I learned? Am I living a life that’s pleasing in Your sight? Am I acknowledging Your saving grace in my life? Am I walking in a right relationship with You?” When all is said and done, life as we know it here will cease. When you look back over your life and see all of your trials and tribulations, ask yourself: “What have I learned?” If you are in Christ and He is in you, then you can banish all anxiety and fear from your hearts and have an answer that will be pleasing to our Lord. Your answer would then make Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant; well done!”

Solomon learned that there is nothing that can fulfill your soul’s longing, that can satisfy your thirst and hunger in life, except to be in a right relationship with God. Everyone has a God-shaped hole in their heart and soul; don’t try to fill it with things other than Him. What does this mean? Put your priorities in life in the correct order: God first, yourself and all other things second. He is God and you should be His worshiper. He is the Creator; you are the created. He is the Father and you are His child. Walk by His wisdom and understanding, not your own. Live and love by His grace and mercy.