by Joshua Goodling
During the early years of the South, there was a wealthy land owner who owned a quite large estate and had many slaves and servants. One of his slaves was an elderly man named Moe, who always seemed to be in a good mood and have a great attitude no matter what the circumstances of his life were.
Moe spent a lot of his time working close to the mansion on the estate, and often the land owner would hear him singing. One of his favorite songs was "Child of A King” which goes like this;
He holdeth the wealth of the world in his hands!
Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold,
His coffers are full, he has riches untold.
My Father's own Son, the Savior of men,
Once wandered on earth as the poorest of them;
But now He is pleading our pardon on high,
That we may be His, when He comes by and by.
I once was an outcast stranger on earth,
A sinner by choice, an alien by birth,
But I've been adopted, my name’s written down,
An heir to a mansion, a robe and a crown.
A tent or a cottage, why should I care?
They're building a palace for me over there;
Though exiled from home, yet still may I sing:
All glory to God, I’m a child of the King.
I'm the child of a King, the child of a King,
With Jesus, my Saviour, I'm the child of a King.
One night Moe had a dream, and in his dream he dreamed that the richest man in all of the state was going to die the next night.
Moe told his owner about the dream, and said he needed to be prepared. He needed to trust in Jesus. And while the owner just dismissed it as a dream, he couldn't get it out of his mind. He was after all, the richest man in that entire state.
He finally sent for his doctor, who came and checked him over. "Everything is fine, you're in perfect health.", said the doctor. And yet, the owner still couldn't stop thinking about that dream.
When it came time to go to bed that evening, the owner sent all of his family to bed - but he couldn't sleep for fear he wouldn't wake up. He spent the entire night pacing back and forth in his study.
The next morning came at last, and the man breathed a huge sigh of relief that he was still alive! It had just been a silly dream after all.
He no more finished his breakfast when a knock came at the front door. At the front door was one of his slaves telling him that Moe had passed away in the night.
Tears began to run down the face of that wealthy land owner as he suddenly realized that while he had lots of money, land, and wealth - He was NOT the "richest" man in that state. Although Moe had not hardly any of this world's possessions, he had Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, and great peace and joy....truly HE had been the richest man!
In this world today great emphasis is placed on material possessions, wealth, and fame. We all want the nicest new car, a beautiful home, the finest of clothing,
the latest electronic gadgets and devices, etc., yet NONE of these things will EVER bring true peace and joy.
It boggles my mind how many times I have to tell people this over and over and over, yet they just blindly shut me out and say, "yeah....whatever!"
One can only look at the people who have wealth and fame to see how much happiness it brings them. It seems hardly a week goes by without the news telling us of another failed marriage, drug overdose, and other personal problems of the rich and famous people whom many look up to or idolize.
The Bible even questions why we focus all of our attention on things like that in the Book of Isaiah.
"Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me." (Isaiah 55:2,3).
The things that this world has to offer will NEVER satisfy you - you will continue to want just a little more and just a little more. The ONLY true peace and joy in this life is found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Time and again, people have asked me, "Joshua, how come you're always so happy?". And when I tell them, it's because I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and trust Him, they either just ignore it, or laugh it off. Just like that land owner - they dismiss it as irrelevant or can't possibly be true. Or they think of many people in this world who claim to be a Christian yet are just as miserable or unsatisfied as they are.
Let me tell you - there are THOUSANDS of people in this world who claim to be Christians - yet have no personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Many claim to be
Christian just so they will perhaps escape going to Hell. Some claim to be Christian just because they were raised in a family that was "Christian". A few claim to be Christian just because it makes them feel a little better about some things.
However - the Bible even tells us we can KNOW a TRUE Christian by the way they live, and by how they act and react to what happens in their lives and in the world around them.
Back in the day of one room schoolhouses, there was one school that was out in the country and was filled with tough, rough kids. So rough, in fact, that the superintendent of the school district couldn't keep a teacher in the school--the kids would run him off. One day a young man walked into the superintendent's office and asked to be assigned to that rough school. The superintendent was very reluctant to send this young man there, but the young man convinced him that he was the man for the job.
Word traveled around the community that they were sending a new teacher, and on his first day everyone showed up for school. They all thought running off teachers was great sport. When the teacher rang the bell for school to start, all the students entered and took their seats. The new teacher introduced himself, and then surprised everyone there. He said, "All schools must have rules," and before the students could raise an uproar, he stunned them into silence. He said, "How about if I let you make the rules--you call out the rules you want for your school, and I'll write them on the blackboard." The students were so shocked that they said nothing for a moment, then someone called out, "No stealing!!" The teacher wrote that on the blackboard. Someone else said, "How about no lying?" The teacher wrote that on the blackboard. Others were suggested and written down and pretty soon they had about a dozen good rules.
The teacher then told them that rules were absolutely no good unless there was a punishment for breaking the rules, and asked for suggestions as to what the punishment should be. One of the bigger 8th graders yelled out. "10 lashes with the teacher's belt across his bare back." The teacher suggested that the punishment might be a bit harsh, but the students all agreed that they didn't want anyone breaking their rules! So, the teacher wrote down the punishment on the board.
Things went very well for a week or so. Then one day Tom, the biggest boy in the school, ran out of the cloak room where the lunches were kept and yelled, "Hey, somebody stole my lunch!!!" The teacher had everyone return to their seats and began to ask who had stolen Tom's lunch. Little Billy, a second grader, (and by far the smallest boy in the school) slowly raised his hand and said quietly, "Teacher, I stole Tom's lunch." The teacher stood there stunned--then asked, "Billy, why?"
Billy's eyes filled with tears as he explained: "I'm sorry, but I was so hungry this morning--we didn't have any food in our house to make a lunch, and I saw Tom's big lunch and I gobbled it down without thinking of what would happen." The room was completely silent for several moments, then the teacher, frantically trying to think of a way out of this situation, quietly told Billy to come to the front of the room. As Billy slowly walked to the front, the teacher noticed that he had an old navy jacket on--the buttons were gone and he had it held closed by three large safety pins. The teacher reminded Billy that the rule said the licking had to be on his bare back. Billy begged, "Please, Teacher, don't make me take my coat off." The teacher said, "Billy, you know the rule--you'll have to take the coat off."
Slowly, with tears running down his face, Billy undid the three big pins and slid his coat off. The teacher was shocked to see that he had no shirt on under the coat, and asked, "Billy, where's your shirt?" Billy answered in a low voice, "I only have one shirt, and when my mom washes it, I have to come without a shirt."
The teacher was fighting valiantly, but unsuccessfully to keep back the tears, but knew there was no other way--the punishment must be given.
Just then Tom, the boy whose lunch Billy had stolen jumped out of his seat and rapidly walked to the front of the room.
"Wait, Teacher! Let me take Billy's licking for him!!" The teacher thought for a moment and then replied that he thought that would be appropriate, since Jesus had taken the punishment for the sins of the whole world. Tom stripped off his shirt and lay across the teacher's desk. The teacher took off his belt and with tears running down his face began to give Tom the 10 lashes that were required. He gave Tom 5 lashes and then turned his back to the class so he could wipe the tears away. While his back was turned he heard a stirring and sobbing coming from most of the students. He turned back around to find that Billy had wrapped his arms around Tom as best he could and through his sobbing exclaimed, "O, Tom, how can I ever thank you for taking my licking for me!"
Just like little Billy, we all have done things wrong, we all deserve punishment - and we are faced with having to pay the penalty for our sins ourselves. However, over 2000 years ago, like Tom in the above story - Jesus Christ came to this world and dying on the cross took our punishment for us. How anyone can not love Him and trust Him for what He has done for us is beyond my ability to comprehend.
We simply MUST accept Him as our Saviour and give our lives to Him.
So many people think, "Well, I will one day. I have all of my life ahead of me." However, just like the many people who die each day in car accidents, natural disasters, and other incidents - we have NO GUARANTEE of tomorrow. And if we die WITHOUT Christ as our Savior, we're lost for all of eternity.
Some may say, "Yes, but I don't believe in Hell. I don't believe in God."
And that's fine. That's your decision to make. But what if you're wrong? There is NO second chance. Once you step out into eternity - it's too late.
I can tell you from personal experience that a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ will bring you FAR more peace and joy than anything this world has to offer. Any "sacrifice" you make or "pleasures of this world" you may have to give up are WELL WORTH it. If you don't know Him today - please don't wait too late!
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)