Contend Earnestly: It's A Wonderful Life

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

It's A Wonderful Life

If you haven’t ever watched It’s a Wonderful Life you’re missing out on a truly inspirational movie. As a believer I watch that movie with great hope that I could have but a small, unknown impact on people’s lives such as that of George Bailey.

The story is based on a man who is frustrated with his life as he battles contentment. Finally he decides that he is worth more dead than alive so in order to allow his family to collect on the insurance money he prepares to jump into a river to kill himself. Just before jumping he cries out to the Lord and the God responds by sending him an angel in training. In order to convince George that his life is worth living the angel shows George what the world would have been like without him.

George Bailey has an impact on individuals which extends throughout his local community and beyond:
1.As a child he saves his brothers life. The result is his brother goes on to save hundreds of men during the war. Without George all those me would have been killed.
2.George prevents his boss from prescribing the wrong pills to a child, which would have killed the kid. Instead George saves the child’s life and Mr. Gower’s life by saving him from prison.
3.His father’s business is saved because George takes it over. The Bailey Building and Loan provided loans to unqualified people who the bank would reject. The homes would make the town people better citizens and the town would have nicer places to live.
4.The town name of Bedford Falls was spared because of George’s quick wit during the depression and the bank runs. The entire landscape of the town was spared from becoming Pottersville, which would be filled with Saloons and other vice.

After taking a tour of his life George Bailey discovers that he had a wonderful life. A life filled with purpose and impact. George had focused so much on his own discontentment that he failed to see what he did for others.

What would the world be like without you? Are you so focused on yourself that you don’t impact others? What is your legacy? What would you like your legacy to be? What are you going to do about that?

What if Jesus had never been born? Programs like the YMCA, Red Cross, Hospitals, Schools, women’s rights, abolition of slavery, Salvation Army, Union Rescue Mission, Childrens Hunger Fund, Crisis Pregnancy Center and much more would never have taken place without the goal of glorifying God in these programs. Ordinary believers doing extroardinary things for the cause of Christ.

Keep in mind it is all for God's glory not our own. 1 Cor 3:7-8 states, "I planted (Paul), Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth." I often wonder why we all think that it's the harvestor's that get all the fun. Everyone wants to reap the fruits of the harvest but how many are willing to do the hard work of seeding, weeding and debugging.

George Bailey spent his life as a planter and waterer and when he didn't see the growth or get credit for it he became discouraged. The struggle is the fun. The struggle is life. We are guaranteed to encounter trials. Praise God for them! James 1 encourages us to consider it all joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." Be encouraged brothers! In God's infinite wisdom He has blessed you each with individual spiritual gifts to minister and serve others with. No ministry opportunity is too small. Take advantage and enjoy especially when it is difficult.

I often think of the "10th" commandment which states, "You shall not covet your neighbor's house, you shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor." Ex 20:17 Did you catch that? Don't covet anything that belongs to your neighbor. That includes his library, his ministry, his job, or his life. Again George Bailey coveted the money of Mr. Potter, the world travel of his friend, other people's homes, lives and much more.

As followers of Christ let us "set our mind on thing above, not on the things that are on earth." Col 3:2 Let us be truly transformed by the renewing of our minds not conformed to this world. Rms 12:2

Even though we may not be exactly where we want to be in life I hope that we are living "A Wonderful Life", which is one that is Christ centered.

Our life should be like the ripples created in the water by a rock or a stone. The only question is how big of a stone will you cast and how many ripples will you have?


Tony said...

Don't confuse fame with significance. Fame leads to focus on self and the esteem of others. When we are significant in others lives we focus on their needs. Raising Godly children is far more significant than being famous. A "Wonderful Life" is a significant life not necessarily a famous one.

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