Today is my birthday – not that it matters really. I’m 51. Big deal. I remember on my 17th birthday calling home around 5PM to let my mom know a friend and I were going out somewhere and she said – “by the way, Bill, Happy Birthday!”. “Oh yea”, I responded. “Thanks, Mom!”. She wasn’t mean or careless – it just wasn’t on my radar that day.
Birthdays were not big deals in my home growing up so now, it’s just another day for me. I increment my age by “1” and do my life as I do any other day. My wife likes to celebrate birthdays – she gets a thrill out of doing it all up special and big. I’ve never understood this, but I’ve learned after 18 years of marriage that I sure better have a card and gift on her birthday.
Vendors like to remind you that it’s your birthday. So far, today, by email (before 9AM!!!), I’ve been congratulated by my insurance agent, a car dealership that I didn’t buy a car from and a dentist – all wishing me a Happy Birthday, then all of them asking me to spend money with them. What a message: “It’s your birthday – so buy something from me!!!!” <sigh>
Every year my dad complains that I was born two days too late to help him save on his 1960 income taxes. Sometimes, birthdays bring out long-held grudges. So, I think I’ll call my dad today and remind him that his tax bill in 1960 was higher than it should have been because of me. Then I’ll remind him that my social security, Medicare and Medicaid taxes are supporting him. I wonder if he’ll make the connection.
There really isn’t anything that I want for my birthday. The things I want most in life cannot be purchased or given to me by a human being. What I really want, more than anything else, is to know God, to love Him with *all* of my heart and to know that He is pleased with me. In short, I want to be intimate with God. My atheist friends will chuckle at this – trying to be intimate with something that doesn’t exist. Whatever. He is there and He is not silent. I’m not perfect – in fact, I don’t think I’m a good example of what it means to be a Christian. But the longing of my heart is not for more money, fame, power, control, women, sex, thrills, experiences, food or a host of other things that don’t really fill the void inside each of us. Instead, the longing of my heart is for God. At the end of my life, when all my birthdays are over and I’m in the last few minutes of my life, all that will matter is Jesus Christ. Nothing else will matter. Read “90 Minutes in Heaven”. You’ll understand what I’m talking about. I watched my mom die of colon cancer nearly 3 years ago. I was with her in her final moments. All that mattered was Jesus Christ.
Even though it’s probably not your birthday, what do you long for? I bet you long for the same things that money can’t buy. Consider this:
- Money can buy a house, but it can’t buy a home.
- Money can buy medicine, but it can’t buy health.
- Money can buy a thrill, but it can’t buy satisfaction.
- Money can buy power, but it can’t buy respect.
- Money can buy sex, but it can’t buy intimacy.
- Money can buy an education, but it can’t buy wisdom.
- Money can buy a membership, but it can’t buy friendship.
- Money can buy an army, but it can’t buy peace.
- Money can buy servants, but it can’t buy loyalty.
- Money can buy prestige, but it can’t buy a reputation.
- Money can buy a religion, but it can’t buy a savior.
The things we most deeply want in life cannot be purchased by money. It’s one of the great lies of Satan – that money will satisfy you. Everything you really want in life is found, ultimately, in the person of Jesus Christ. If you want a birthday that will last forever, then give your heart and life to Christ and He will give you a new birth into a family with an inheritance that will never spoil or fade. Today can be your birthday – all you need to do is ask.