Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 21, 1963
NUMBER 45, PAGE 4,12b

What Is The Reference Of Your Life?


How do your friends think of you? Into what sort of frame or category do they place you when your name is mentioned? For example, can one think of Beethoven without thinking of music? of Adolph Hitler without remembering the carnage of war? of Martin Luther without the picture of courage incarnate as he boldly took his stand on what he conceived to be the will of God and defied all the demons of hell to move him from it? Into what sort of setting does your life fit? For what does your name stand in the community and in the church?

These are sobering reflections which ought to be constantly in the mind and upon the heart of all those who would serve God. For in the busy affairs of the day it is easy indeed for us to drift along with the current, to follow the course of least resistance.... and to stand for nothing!

Jesus said, "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall is be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under a bushel, but on the stand; and it shineth unto all that are in the house. Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 5:13-16) The followers of Christ are more than mere individuals; they represent a Cause, they stand for something in the world. The honor of their leader is in their hands. It is verily true that every man has the power to represent something more than himself, and as the years go by in swift succession every man comes to represent something in the thinking of his friends and acquaintances. His life is not an isolated thing, but has a reference above and beyond his own existence.

Hence, our question: what is the reference of your life? Do those who know you best think of you as a dedicated person? One whose life is totally committed? When your name is mentioned; what is the immediate association? Do you register in their thinking in terms of business? Success? Aggressive promotion of your own interests? Fierce ambition for yourself and your future? Or do they immediately think of you as one with whom the Cause of Christ comes first? As one for whom no sacrifice is too great, no task too exacting if thereby the kingdom can be extended?

Until one's life has been truly "captured by a Cause," he is but half alive. He has found nothing to which he can give himself, in which he can lose his identity, and for which he can gladly and exultantly die if need be. Without some such passionate consecration no man's life can ever be worth much of anything either to himself or to others. And when a man has that sort of devotion, his life is rich and full and overflowing.... though he live in a hovel and be slowly dying of starvation. What do you think was Paul's main concern and greatest desire as he remained prisoner in bonds firs:, at Caesarea and then at Rome? Did he spend his days in thinking how he might improve his lot, curry the favor of his jailors and gain greater food rations, or more comfortable quarters? Did he spend endless hour in trying to devise some means or method by which he might escape the confines of his cell? One has but to read the magnificent prison epistles.... Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, and 2 Timothy.... to realize that here was one who had so completely "lost" himself in the thing to which his life was given that he was all but insensible of the fact of imprisonment. He was too busy, too breathlessly intent on what he was doing even to notice the prison bars, much less to be concerned about them!

If Christians are truly to be the "salt of the earth" and the "light of the world," it is going to take Paul's kind of devotion to give savor to the salt or luster to the light. A half-hearted, nominal, easy-going lip--service to Truth will never be worth much to anybody! The old, old proverb of our fathers is profoundly true: "If Christianity is worth anything, it is worth everything."

— F. Y. T.