Many of the people you and I have known have gone
through their entire lives just sort of existing. At the end of
their lives there wasn’t really anything significant to say about
them. Several years ago I received a call from the late Ralph Hicks
of the Hicks Funeral Home in Elkton. He had been asked to find a
minister to conduct a funeral for a member of this particular
family. When I arrived I found that although this man had lived a
long life there was not one relative or friend present. And so, with
only Mr. Hicks and myself in the funeral parlor, I tried to give
last respects to a man I had never met and knew nothing about…and
who did not have one relative or friend to honor his memory. How
There are people who at the end of their lives we
had no words to fully describe the impact they had on others. We
recognize people like this in the political realm with such people
as John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan; . . .in the entertainment realm
with Elvis Presley; . . .in the religious realm with those like
Billy Graham and Mother Teresa; . . .in the sports realm we have
What makes the difference between people who
don’t even make a blip on the radar screen of life and those who
appear so big the screen can only show portions of them at any one
time? The answer is that those who become significant as a person
and notable in their impact on others have settled the key issues of
Each of us will be confronted with four key
issues. It doesn’t matter whether we believe in God or don’t
believe in God, we are going to come to grips with these four key
issues. What we decide about each of them is going to determine the
direction of our life and ultimately our significance and success.
Or, if your funeral will be like the man I first mentioned.
Moses Shows The Way
In the eleventh chapter of the New Testament book
of Hebrews we have God’s Honor Roll of Old Testament Heroes.
Eighteen people are mentioned by name and perhaps hundreds of others
implied. All made the right decisions about the key issues of life.
Moses is the pre-imminent example. From him we learn:
Define My Identity -
I must clarify to myself
who I am and what I am.
In Moses’ case this was a major issue. Moses was
born the son of Hebrew slaves in the land of Egypt. At that time,
Egyptian law stated that all male babies of the Hebrews were to be
put to death as soon as they were born. His mother made a bold move
of putting him in a little basket and placing him in the Nile River
where the daughter of Egypt’s ruler (called Pharaoh) normally
bathed. When Pharaoh's daughter heard the baby Moses crying and
picked him up her heart was touched with loving compassion. Moses’
sister, Miriam, was stationed nearby and ran up to ask, "Would you
like one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?" And so,
Moses was taken into the royal palace to be raised as a son of
Pharaoh's daughter, . . .but his nurse was his real mother.
The day came when Moses had to come to grips with
the first key issue of life, his identity. "Do I continue
pretending that I am the son of Pharaoh's daughter with fame,
fortune, luxury and every pleasure. Or, do I identify myself as a
Hebrew? If so, I will experience shame and humiliation and perhaps
be put into slave labor along with other Hebrews and may even be put
It is at this point that we begin to see why God
used Moses. He refused to live a lie. "By faith Moses, when he
became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter."
Hebrews 11:24. Please note that word "refused". He reflected on
that choice and disowned it. He defined his identity. His decision
was, "Even though I’m called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, that is
not really who I am. I was born a Hebrew, the Hebrews are the people
of God. I choose to be identified with them because that is what God
intended me to be.
Those of us who have trusted Jesus to save us are
children of God. Yet, we have been raised with the glamour and
luxury the world has to offer. Like Moses, we must make a choice to
live as children of God and do what God has planned for us. If we
choose to be what God made us to be, it gives confidence and reduces
stress. Recent studies have proven that stress among people of
strong faith is far reduced. Psalm 139 tells us; "For you
formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb…When I was
made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the
earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me,
when as yet there were none of them" Psalm 139:13, 15b,16. God had a purpose
for each one of us before we were born. Real success begins by
deciding to be what God made us to be.
In today's society the prevailing thought is
"Whatever faults, failures or incompetence I have is because
somebody else is to blame. I was mistreated by my parents, or my
teachers, or fellow students or a boss on one of my jobs." Do these
things happen to people? Sure they do. These things happen to all of
us. This world is not a perfect place and life is not fair. But that
is no excuse. If you and I are going to become a complete person and
have an impact by our life, then we must stop blaming other people
and accept responsibility.
Notice that Moses ". . .Choosing
rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the
pleasures of sin." . In verse 24
we saw him refusing to pretend he was somebody he wasn't. In verse
25 we see him choosing the direction of his life.
- He first made a negative decision about what he would not be,
- He made a positive decision about who he would be and what he
When did he do this? "when he
became of age."
Verse 24a. As a child Moses lived under the authority of others, but
when he grew up he began to reflect on the direction of life others
had chosen for him. He rejected that direction and chose another,
and accepted the responsibility for his decision. So must we because
the scriptures tell us "So then each one of us shall give account
of himself to God." Romans 14:12.
Determine Values and Priorities
Our life can be one that makes an impact on
others. If we are going to attain our goals, be the person we're
convinced we should be and impact others we are going to have to
define what is important and what is not.
Moses considered "
Esteeming the reproach of Christ
greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to
the reward." Hebrews 11:26. After lengthy thought about the
decision he should make, Moses determined, "If I continue to be
somebody I am not and live according to what others have chosen for
me I will enjoy the best that being a member of the royal family has
to offer. On the other hand, if I choose to be who I really am and
choose the direction in life God has made me and shaped me to take,
it can be tough in this life but I will enjoy the best that God has
to offer for all eternity. In the vernacular of today Moses decided
"This is a 'no-brainer'. I'm going with God.!" And flowing out of
that decision Moses determined his values and priorities to
successfully carry out this decision.
Have you really decided what really matters most
in life for you. Have you made a list of your values such as love,
faith, integrity, commitment, etc? Have you made a list of your
priorities such as the place of God, family, your Christian life and
service, your vocation, your social and civic responsibilities,
etc.? Life Strategists state that when we must act in a crisis, we
always fall back on our basic values. If a man who has strong values
of commitment, family and love is tempted to an extramarital affair,
he can resist. A person who has strong values of integrity is less
tempted to cheat, or lie, or steal.
I encourage you to start today making a list of
what's really important in the life. Keep working with it until you
have everything of importance. Even more important, I encourage you
to follow Moses' example. He rejected the values of this world
system which are power, prestige, pleasure and possessions and he
did it when he was enjoying all these things. He chose the values of
God and determined these were the values by which he would live.
- God's purpose is more important than power
- God's people are more important than the pleasures of sin
- God's riches and rewards are greater than the riches and
rewards of the world.
Moses was motivated in determining his values and
priorities by his faith. "By faith. . .he was looking to the
reward" Hebrews 11:26 and , ". . .he endured, as seeing Him who
is unseen." Hebrews 11:27. He believed that his eternal reward would
be waiting and that God would always be with him in his journey of
4. I Must Choose My Authority
This issue is the most important of all. Who is
really going to be in charge of my life? Bob Dylan laid hold on this
truth when he used to sing:
"You're going to have to serve somebody.
It may be the devil. It may be the Lord.
But, you're going to have to serve somebody."
Jesus put it this way, "No one can serve two
masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he
will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and
mammon (money)." Matthew 6:24.
We see a clear indication of who Moses chose as
his authority in verse 27, "By faith he left Egypt, not fearing
the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen."
The word of Pharaoh carried the power of life and death. The
Egyptians lived in fear of the wrath of Pharaoh. . .not Moses. He
had chosen the Lord as the authority in his life and with the eyes
of faith God was always in sight.
When we choose God as our authority we have it
settled that it doesn't matter what anybody else is going to say
about our life. What matters is what God says about it. One day,
every one of us will stand before God and be held accountable for
the question, "Who was in charge of your life?"
Who are you living for? What is the direction of
your life whether you have got ten years left or fifty? Would you
like to make an impact with your life? It is your choice. You can
start now by settling these four basic issues:
Identity: I am going to be who God made me
I take responsibility that by God's help I will be what I should
be and do what I should
Values and Priorities: My values and
priorities will be based on what God's word tells me are the
really most important things in life.
Authority: God is going to be the One in
charge of my life.
God wants to use you and He will use you to the
extent you settle the four basic issues of life. I urge you to get these issues settled. Right
now would be a good time to tell the Lord that with His help you
are going to choose His way.
As you leave, remember the words to this poem:
"I asked God for all things that I might enjoy
He gave me Life that I might enjoy all things."
If you have not yet received Jesus Christ as
your Savior I urge you to do so today and get your salvation
settled. That is your first and most important step towards
resolving the basic issues of life.
Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scripture quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted
Copyright © 2008 Truth Helpers Inc.