On the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.” (Philippians 2:16 NLT)
King Philip III of France died of fever in 1285 while returning home from a failed invasion into the Pyrenees at the ripe old age of 45. His fifteen-year reign was arguably bland and not much is documented at all regarding his spiritual life. But as he lay dying on his homeward bound ship, the last words from one of Europe’s mightiest kings are reported to be, “What an account I shall have to give to God! How I should like to live otherwise than I have lived.” Sad words from a mighty man.
The truth of our life is that we only have one chance at it. We can whine and moan about how unfair or tough things have been for us, or we can rise above it and find meaning, value, and worth in the toils we face. By living God’s way, we are poised to live a very meaningful, fulfilling life with fewer regrets because we did not squander it with selfishness or bitterness. By touching the lives of others, we ourselves are enriched!
In contrast to Philip, as the great patriot Patrick Henry lay dying, the man who once said, “Give me liberty or give me death!”, his last words were quite different. Having given everything for God and Country, he is reported to have said, “Doctor, I wish you to observe how real and beneficial the religion of Christ is to a man who is about to die…” Live now so that dying then will bring no fear for you! Build your house in Heaven by your vigilance here on Earth! You are loved!