As we grow older, it is quite normal to look back and wonder if we have left behind anything of value. Children, career accomplishments, houses, cars, holiday trips, savings, retirement plan. When they have served their purposes and the children are on their own, we wonder, don’t we, is this all there is to life?
These are much, sure. If we have all these, it means we have made good our lives and that should be commended. But, these are practical matters. We have to attain them so that we and our own are ok. And they give us purpose and focus. Once they are achieved though, is there anything else to look forward to?
I was wondering about these things when I came upon Gal 5: 6 and it put things in perspective: “… The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” When we look back we’ll realise the things we did that really counted were those we did out of love. How we strove for the people we love — our family and friends. Sometimes, it was difficult, but we did everything we could to give and take care. When we succeeded what joy it was to see them blessed!
Sometimes, it was impossible to love, but many of us found faith in God or in a “universal will” — as some people call it — that came through at the right time! I think this is something that people with children and people to take care of can identify with. The accomplishments, the material things, money all have a very short lifespan. Once achieved, they don’t seem to matter so much, but the people we suffered for and who grew as a result of it, we value a great deal, don’t we?
The things of value are not the cars, houses, designer clothes, starbucks coffee, travel and the monuments we build, but faith expressed in love. That has a touch of the divine and is priceless!
The context of Gal 5: 6 is a debate on the need to circumcise. Paul declares that neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts but faith expressing itself through love. The same point is echoed in Gal 6: 16: “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.”
In other words, all the things we do to justify our actions, count for nothing except what we do by faith in love. When faith is demonstrated through love we upbuild the new creation in Christ, which is the Body of Christ, which is The Church. That should be the priority and the bulk of our resources should be channeled for that purpose.