This is Dave Smart…
Hard working, polite, and smart. He got good grades at school, with an ‘A-star’ in information technology.
Everyone’s pleased, because he gets on well with everyone. Now he writes games for next-generation mobile phones. He works freelance, and sells on to the big companies.
One of his games has proved a big hit. Everyone wants it; the money is rolling in.
What should he do? Blow it all on a fast car, or a big house, or a small yacht? Not Dave Smart. No, he’s thought it all through.
‘I’m going to invest, start my own company, build on my success. I’ll do expansions and new versions and get all the royalties, not just a cut’.
Dave Smart, you rogue! A few good years and you can retire at 30, take it easy, wine and dine, live it up! Everyone’s pleased; they’re all queuing up to congratulate him. ‘He’s a good lad’, say his parents; ‘a model student’, says his old headmaster; ‘a credit to the town’, says the local paper.
Even God has something to say…
‘Dave Smart, you’re a fool! Tonight, coming home, you’ll be killed in a car accident. You won’t be asked about your success, but about your soul. And all your fine plans, where will they be then?’
It’s the same with everyone who’s smart about everything except God.
Think about Dave Smart. What was his crime? He didn’t break the law - no tax fiddling, no dodgy deals. He didn’t plan to spend his gains on drugs or prostitutes; he didn’t even waste it. He wasn’t lazy, or mean, or nasty. Quite the opposite.
So what was his crime? He ignored God.
Imagine a husband saying to his wife, ‘I’m not a bad husband; I’ve never cheated on you, I don’t have rows with you’. But he never smiles at her, talks to her, or even notices she’s there - as if she does not exist.
Ignoring an equal is bad enough, but what about ignoring God? He made us, he gives us every good thing we enjoy; he deserves and demands our loyalty and love. Yet most people rarely give God a thought – as if only this world matters; and as if this world revolves around them!
A man in the crowd once asked Jesus to sort out his inheritance. Jesus was teaching about God’s tender care, about gaining heaven and avoiding hell – and all the man could think about was his share of the lump sum!
It’s like a cancer victim who is being offered a miracle cure in another hospital, but keeps on asking, ‘Will I still have a TV in the ward?’ Ignoring God, living for this world, living for yourself: it’s a crime!
But are you guilty? Ask yourself, where does God figure in your life? Your time, your ambition, what you care about? God should be number one. Does he even get a look in? God’s love is being offered; heaven and hell are at stake.
What did it cost?
What did it cost Dave Smart? A rich man dies and everyone asks, ‘How much did he leave?’ The answer is always the same – he left everything. Everyone does. What does ignoring God cost a person? Everything!
Take it easy, wine and dine, live it up – it does you no good on the day God asks you about your soul!
Do you believe in life after death? Jesus did – a solid, real-as-this-life existence; and a judgement, with God asking the questions. And everything Jesus ever said came true!
He predicted how he would die – and it happened like that. He said he would rise again – and he did. He said the temple would be torn down – and 40 years later the Romans demolished it. He said the good news about him would spread throughout the whole world – and it has!
Jesus is reliable. So what does he say about life after death? Jesus speaks of a great day of separation. To one group of people he will say, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world’. But to the rest he will say, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire’.
What will he say to you? Where will you end up? How can you avoid Dave Smart’s fate?
Jesus said you have to be ‘rich towards God’. This doesn’t mean you can buy God’s favour – with money, good deeds or anything else. We all owe God our whole love and service and there’s no way anyone can ‘make up’ for a lifetime of ignoring God and living for this world.
Indeed, anything we might offer God is spoiled by sin and selfishness. The first thing to do is admit to God that you are ‘spiritually bankrupt’ and turn your back on old ways. The Bible calls this repentance. At the same time God needs to be back in his rightful place – first place, as Lord of your whole life.
You also start by trusting God to forgive you. If ever anyone was ‘rich towards God’ it was Jesus. In his every action, word and thought he put God first, and pleased God. When Jesus died, his only ‘crime’ was bearing the sin of others, yet it cost him everything.
You need to rely on Jesus’ death to pay for your sins, and his life to make you right with God. The Bible calls this reliance faith.
Life is like a light bulb: you can’t tell how long is left just by looking. One day you flick the switch and…
Your last day may start like any other. There is often no warning. Don’t gamble with your soul. Don’t ignore God once too often: it costs too much!