Gilbert: Successful engineer asks, “is this all there is to life?”

Gilbert, Zambia

July 16, 2001

I was brought up going to a mainline church with my family. We attended faithfully, but it never really had any impact on me. The main objective seemed to be enduring through to the end of the hour and about all I got out of 12 years in Sunday School was knowing the names of a few books of the Bible. Probably a lot of the blame for that rests on me. When I got to the teenage years I stopped going to church.

For the 15 years or so, I went through life hardly giving a thought to church, religion or God. I passed through high school and went on to university to get a degree in Engineering. While at university I met a young lady. We graduated in 1985 and a job and marriage followed. Things seemed to be unfolding in a good and proper way, according to all the standards society set for me. Careers developed nicely for both my wife and I.

Soon, we found ourselves surrounded by all the measures of success we were given. We had a house, 2 cars, few debts, a big TV, 2 vacations every year, big savings accounts, lots of money in our retirement plans. Our futures were bright and we must have seemed to have the perfect life.

But something was amiss. I woke up one morning and said to my wife, “Is this all there is to life?”. I had all the trappings of life that I thought should make a person happy, but something was missing. What was left in life, if, at age 28, I had everything? I had no idea what might be missing. My wife didn’t have any answers, but she did grow up in an evangelical church and so suggested we see what the Bible had to say.

That began a time of searching where we went to different churches trying to find someone to help us find the answers. We went to a variety of churches before finally settling into a small, friendly church that, we could tell, took the Bible seriously, clearly explained what the Bible taught and could help us see if the Bible did have answers to our questions.

Over the next year my eyes were opened to see what the Bible had to say about God, life, death and so many other things. All the years in church as a child and I missed all the teaching the Bible contained. Along the way I heard the gospel as well. I heard that I was a sinner, separated from God by my sin. I heard that God had sent His one and only son to die and take the punishment for my sin. I heard that I had to accept by faith that God had done this and I would have eternal life. And all this was new to me. It took a while for me to gain some understanding of what the Bible taught.

When I did understand the gospel, I realized that Christians must be somewhat radical. Christianity was not a warm fuzzy religion, that made you feel good but you didn’t really need to do anything. Although I was not ready to be a Christian, I knew the Christianity I grew up with, was not what Jesus wanted from his followers.

I eventually came across a passage in the Gospels where Jesus says, “He who is not for me is against me”. I knew then that I had to make a decision. A person was either for Jesus or against him. There is no middle ground. I had been going to church and reading my Bible but I needed to do something. I had to either reject the gospel and stop doing these things or accept Christ as my Saviour and follow him. Someone later said to me, “There is no fence sitting in Christianity. You may think you are sitting on the fence, but you are really sitting in Satan’s yard.”

I knew in my heart I was not against Jesus, so I knew then that I had to accept Him as my Saviour. When the gospel was presented to me again, I accepted Christ on 24 February 1990.

Since that time I have seen God at work in my life in many ways. My priorities changed from striving to get the things the world says I should have, to serving God and doing what he wants. Eventually, I quit my Engineering career and went to Seminary to learn the word of God and see where God would lead from there. He has led me to serve Him in Zambia, where I have been since 1998. I teach the Bible to believers to help them understand God and what He has done for them.

And through all that God has answered my question. Yes, there is more to life than striving for the things society tells you will make you happy. Those things don’t really make you happy. What brings the greatest satisfaction is knowing that you are serving God, doing what He wants you to do, using the gifts and abilities He has given.

Don’t let society fool you into thinking you can be happy with just things. Your soul really longs for a healed relationship with the Creator of the heavens and the earth, not for a new DVD player and HDTV. A big retirement plan won’t give you security, but a life given to the One who conquered death surely will.

I praise God for filling my life with meaning and for the opportunity to serve Him. I praise God for the work He has done and is still doing in my life. I praise God for His grace and mercy shown to me.

 

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