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Summary: One may either live for the moment, or live in view of eternity. Christ calls us to live for the coming glory of God.

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“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

The focus of existence for our contemporaries—even for fellow Christians we consider to be “mature”—appears to be “self”—self-gratification, self-interests, self-preservation. Undoubtedly, there are notable exceptions in the ken of many, but for most fellow Canadians, if the conduct of daily life is any indication, it is apparent that the summum bonum of life may be defined by what is fun—and fun is defined as that which is amusing, entertaining or personally enjoyable. In short, the focus for most folk is “self.”

Few people seem capable of taking stock of their lifestyles, or of reflecting on the fact that their focus has become utterly self-centred. Fewer still seem cognizant that a major transition has occurred in society. Not that many years past, western society emphasised serving others rather than serving only—or even primarily—one’s own interest. We esteemed the individual who made sacrifice for the benefit of the nation or for the benefit of mankind. However, today such attitudes now appear passé at best, and perhaps even absurd or bizarre.

Christians are more likely to adopt as role models the denizens of this dying world than they are to choose to emulate the lives of quiet saints that endeavour to follow the Master. Singers(?) such a Chris Brown, who uses crude and salacious rhyming to entertain, or Enrique Iglesias who croons the crudest terms imaginable as a love(?) song, are the heroes—even serving as heroes for many older people.


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