WHAT'S IT WORTH

Does your appetite fit your wallet?
Who wants to be a millionaire?
Where does God fit?
Donít be cheated
A season to move on

How important are the years we are given between birth and death? Are we just along for the ride or do we have to make some contribution to the journey? What's it worth, this gift of decades? Can we place a value on it?

Should we take life forgranted, squandering our years in selfishness with no concern for others or how the big picture fits together. Or is it possible, we are involved in a great adventure, with as many plots and sub-plots as we care to choose?

If life is like a book, then every chapter counts as we build toward the great climax. Every experience we have is part of the overall picture. As our children and friends look on, they should be able to read our lives and begin to understand what it is we are on about. Perhaps our lives help make up chapters in the great Book Of Life, daily being compiled by the Author of all life. If so what is your contribution saying?

For everything there is a cost either in terms of human effort or cold hard cash. So what is it worth this life we are living, or does that depend entirely on the kind of investment we are making?

We seem to quickly place a value on everything from friendship to material goods I for one am very budget conscious and yet when I have more money than I need I find it very easy to spend.

Does your appetite fit your wallet?

Before choosing from the menu at a restaurant I want to know how much I will have to pay and if my appetite fits my wallet. When shopping around for clothes I like to look at the sales first, or rummage

through second hand book or record shops for treasures, rather than pay the full amount for brand new releases. Music, books and clothing are very expensive items especially if you have a young family and a mortgage.

But I guess if I had the money of Australian millionaire Kerry Packer I might see things a little differently. I remember a few years back Packer lost $24 million while gambling at a Casino just one day after he had

won $20 million on a horse race sending Sydney's top bookie broke.

Some people think that money gives them the right to walk roughshod over everyone. They live at the top of the pile - the only problem is that the pile is made up of people who they have trampled on in the race to get there.

Certain kinds of wealth are based on the misfortune of others. Horse race, lottery and casino winners take home the money gambled by the losers. The big winners on the stock market who's shares suddenly rocket in value usually cash in on the misfortunes of investors whoís shares plummet.

Money itself is not evil but the love of it can be. It is the great misleaders of humanity, and so often behind the masks of wealth there is a great shadow of sadness and desperation - a loneliness brought about by greed.

Who wants to be a millionaire?

Mind you it's easy to talk about money as being evil but what effect would it have on us if we suddenly had the big Lotto win? As Mark Twain once said: "I am opposed to millionaires but it would be dangerous to offer me the position."

So what's it worth, this life we live? Is it worth the heartaches and pain? Is it worth the frustration and hard work?

If we are not gaining ground and learning from our experiences then perhaps the answer is no. . If we are just too damn proud and hard headed to listen to that still small voice whispering inside, then perhaps we are the main contributor to our own difficulties.

If we keep on banging our head into brick walls, prison walls, racial walls, social wall and walls of every other kind then perhaps the pain is becoming a little hard to bear.

We are responsible for our own lives - we can't blame anyone else. Even if we have been badly hurt it is still up to us to pull out from emotional nose-dives to sort out the dirty laundry, to clean up our own backyard and put value back into our lives.

But that's not always as easy as it sounds. To make sense of life we need to know what we believe. Some people spend a lifetime in search of the answers to the big questions like: Is there a God, and Can he make a difference in my life? They're good questions and people all over the world will testify to the fact that when they have asked in their hour of need, God answered.

Where does God fit?

If there is no God then the answer to our question today is going to be a humanistic one. If God does not fit into the big picture then we probably don't either. It's all quite co-incidental and in the end it's up to us to get what we can out of life, no matter what the consequences. If there's no God - then we're on our own.

If life has no design, then our lives are just a passing moment in evolution, a brief span of glory or a sad interlude between nothing and nothing. If God is not the grand designer of the Universe, and the benefactor and parent of all those who reach out to him, then we all have a common end - sharing a hole in the ground with the worms before eternal darkness.

Here today gone tomorrow. But I am here today and I want to have some impact on tomorrow to make it better than yesterday. I want to make a difference - I don't want to be remembered as someone who did something once but no-one could remember quite what.

I want to put the best into every day so that if someone really is taking notes for the great Book Of Life then there'll be something of value to say about me even if it was just that I smiled at people or said a few wise words.

Donít be cheated

The Biblical three-score and ten years is pretty accurate really. I once heard someone say that if we get any more than our 70-years we've been blessed if we get less then we've been cheated.

If life is a gift then someone must have given it - when life ends perhaps the gift goes back to the giver. If that's the case then the least I can do is be thankful and try and add as much value to my life as possible so the Gift-giver will be pleased with what he sees.

I believe the value of human life is sadly underestimated. Murder, abortion and suicide devalue life - achievement and beating the odds and obstacles add value .

The quality of life has little to do with money, status in the workplace or glory on the stage. It has to do with the lasting things we build into our lives, how we handle difficulty, how we treat our family, how we respond when others are in need and the kind of thoughts we think.

No-one gets away with a life full of pure pleasure with no problems or pain. No-one is exempt from difficulty and danger.

Choice and chance pave the roadway for all of us in this life and there is always an opportunity to elevate ourselves from depression, poverty or heartache. If we choose to overcome we become an example and encouragement to others

A season to move on

We must choose to move upward and onwards, to discover new reasons for smiling rather than remaining forever in misery and sadness draining sympathy from the world.

We all have our moments of loneliness, depression and sadness, mourning and hurt but there is a season to move ahead and discover what lies before us in the tomorrow's we have only guessed at in our dreams.

What life is worth is up to us to determine. How will we know what great joy and achievement is ahead if we give up when the going gets tough. We may have struck a bad innings for a time but this is not life - this is just one stop along the way and life has many innings.

It is in overcoming adverse circumstances that deep personal growth occurs. It is in such times of difficulty that we can really get in touch with ourselves, question our existence and the path we are travelling.

What's it worth? We'll I guess we never really going to find out unless we see it through to the end. Take the highs with the lows - and begin to take control of the storyline - after all it is our book and everyone we come into contact with gets to see whether we're a bestseller or not?

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