What can you say at the end of your life if all you have actually lived for is to glorify yourself? When all you can boast about is what you have accomplished, although at your death it may well be of no value to you (or anyone else) at all?
Psalm 115:1 has the answer to such folly. The psalmist looks at his life and the history of the people of God and he proclaims:
Not to us, Lord, not to us
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness.
He is not ashamed to recognize that if there is anything good in his life, or if he has been privileged to do any good, it is because of the grace and mercy and goodness and love and faithfulness of God.
Then in another psalm:
In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever. (Psalm 44:8)
And in Jeremiah:
23 This is what the Lord says:
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
Many think they don’t need God. One of the saddest songs that I have heard at funerals is Frank Sinatra’s song called “My Way”. It goes:
… And now the end is here
And so I face that final curtain
My friend I’ll make it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I travelled each and every highway
And more, much more
I did it, I did it my way
(“My Way” is a song popularized in 1969 by Frank Sinatra set to the music of the French song “Comme d’habitude” composed by Jacques Revaux with lyrics by Gilles Thibaut and Claude François and first performed in 1967 by Claude François. Its English lyrics were written by Paul Anka and are unrelated to the original French song. – Wikipedia)
I confess, knowing God and what a blessed life it is to live it God’s way, I can’t help but feel sorry for those who consider that at the end of their lives, to say “I did it my way” is something to boast about. Also, I can’t help feeling sorry for the spouse and children who also have to admit before all that, yes it’s true, this loved one did it his/her way!
Having mentioned this in a sermon recently a friend who was there sent me an alternative version of this song. Check it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytc3pMKie_I It is called “I did it God’s way”.
It is certainly worth considering before that final day!
Let me finish with the words of Jesus in Matthew 6 who also had something to say about the choice between living to give God the glory or ourselves. Read the whole chapter for yourself, but let me just pick out a few important statements:
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others…
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full…
16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full…
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6)
May God give us the wisdom and grace to live our lives His way and, if we are going to boast at all, may we boast that we have the understanding to know Him (Jeremiah 9:24) Or even better, as Paul says,May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14) Amen.