Some years ago, my wife and I rode Amtrak from Los Angeles up the coast of California to visit Hearst Castle. The ride was very interesting as it bordered the Pacific Ocean for most of the distance.
But the trip up the coast was not the objective of the excursion. Visiting Hearst Castle was the objective. And the cost of the trip made visiting that objective worthwhile.
We also have been traveling the road of life.
And what is the destination, the objective of that trip? For many the objective is to get the most out of this life: a big house, a large SUV, the biggest TV, a 6-G cell phone.
Owning the biggest and the best is seen as the one objective worth living for.
The problem is, our trip up the coast soon came to an end, and all we now have are photos and memories.
The road of life will also soon come to an end, and what will we end up with - just memories, nothing substantial to hang on to?
Well, there is a life worth living where the objective is so worthwhile that getting there is worth whatever cost may be expended to reach that goal.
And that objective is eternal life with our heavenly father.
And the cost to get there is so simple that most refuse to believe it and accept it: believe in Jesus Christ as your lord and eternal savior.
In fact, the cost is entirely free.
Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for all our sins. The wages of sin is death, and God demands that penalty be paid, but he does not demand we pay that penalty ourselves.
Instead, he sent his own son Jesus Christ to pay that penalty for us. Jesus died on the cross, taking all our sins upon his body, dying in our stead, satisfying God’s demand that death be the penalty for our sin, leaving us freed from the penalty for sin that we may now stand before God fully forgiven for all our sins.
We obtain eternal life, not through any effort on our part, but totally through what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross.
All we are called to do is to believe this and put our trust and faith in him for the remission of sin and eternal salvation offered to us.
There is nothing wrong with owning earthly wealth and possessions.
But making these our life’s objective and placing earthly pleasures and objectives ahead of worshiping and praising God for the greater pleasure he offers us are to lose the eternal objective that he offers us.
And so we live our lives here on earth enjoying whatever riches and pleasures God gives us during this earthly trip but always putting everything in its proper perspective - that our time on earth is only a trip of a limited period.
The objective of this trip is eternal.
For those trusting in Jesus Christ as their savior from sin, the objective is everlasting life with God our father in heaven.
Richard H. Snyder is a retired Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, pastor.
Richard H. Snyder is a retired Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod pastor.