"I regret I only have but one life to give..." We all remember those famous words of Nathanel Hale (1776) as he was hanged by the British forces during the American Revolutionary War. Through the years many other heroes have willingly given their lives in defense of their country or faith. Based on his life, the Apostle Paul could very well have coined the original version of this statement.
To study Paul's life, after the Damascus Road experience, we conclude that Paul may have had nine lives (like a cat) by the way he lived it for Christ. In prison, then out! Beaten and ran out of town, threatened and oft roughed up - Paul willingly offered himself up to be sacrificed for our Lord. Reading between the lines, it seems Paul would wish to have many lives he could offer up to the Lord. "O, for a 1,000 tongues to sing of my great Redeemer, Lord!"
Think of all the worlds Paul would have conquered had he been granted several lives to live for the Lord! He would have been able, no doubt, to explore Italy, perhaps Europe, and Spain for sure. Of course, he would be preaching all along the way. His message of salvation through Jesus Christ would have echoed throughout the known-world for sure.
But the truth is: we only have one life to live! How well we spend our time serving our Master will determine our eternal rewards with Him as well. "Live like the devil and die to the devil", my grandma would say. Turning it around makes all the difference: "Live for the Lord now; Live with Lord forever".
So often we hear people ask "why God has not called them home"; they feel useless and have no interest in living or maybe depressed with life the way it is.One can waste a lot of valuable time in self-pity, wishing and hoping for things that may never come to them. But life is too short to sit in the corner somewhere while the multitudes pass by singing the "hymns of Zion."
The promises of God focus first on our response to Him; then He blesses! (If A, then B). "Seek first the kingdom of God.... THEN He will direct our paths"; "Ask and THEN it shall be given unto you"; "Trust in the Lord with all our heart"...THEN He shall direct my paths"; and many more. Note the condition for the flowing of God's blessings to us. What are we waiting for to begin this journey into Christ? Well, whatever we are going to do with this "one life", we had better get busy.
When we consider 'what time it really is', the reality is -"it's much later than we think". Life is racing by us and we cannot retrieve any wasted minute. And at best, we can add only a few days by observing all kinds of healthy practices. So we are stuck with this 'one life'. Let's make the best of it!
Let's use it to bring joy and hope to others. Let's rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Let's go the second mile with folks who are demanding; let's love the unlovely, and lift up the weak and weary. And for those using us for spiteful gain, let's "one-up them" by loving them as Jesus taught. Let's forgive as Jesus taught and hold "naught against any brother". Remember the old slogan: "I must be careful this life I lead; it may be the only Bible some folks may read." And folks, it really is true: "It is more blessed to give than receive". We will get our rewards in heaven. It is God's will that we live a good, fruitful life, committed completely to Him and His purpose, serving our fellow man in the matchless name of Jesus.
The hymn writer expresses this thought: "Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee; Take my heart it is Thine own, It shall be Thy royal throne." (Frances Havengal).Yes, I regret I have but one life to live for Him......