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The best kind of life
August 30, 2010
by Rev. Robert Hellmann, St. Paul's Ev. Lutheran Church, Montrose

Know a good way to add years to your life?

Maybe some previously unknown secret formula recently discovered in an ancient document? A new vitamin or food supplement with almost magical powers? A certain set of exercises practiced by residents of a monastery in a tiny Asian country?

Actually, it’s none of the above. Instead, the answer comes from researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. They report that regularly attending worship services may significantly reduce the risk of death.

A study of about 90,000 people, aged 50 to 79, found that those who attended religious services at least once a week had a 20 percent decrease in mortality compared to those who did not attend at all. (They cautioned that more study is needed before reaching any conclusion.)

Whether this is true or not, one thing is certain – even those who live longer will still die. The reason for death is sin, and all are sinners.

But that’s not the end of the story. God’s wonderful love would not let you perish forever. Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Jesus suffered the punishment for your sins and died your death to give you spiritual life. He promised eternal life to all who believe in him: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)

Long life on earth is a blessing from God. But whether your life is long or short, you are responsible to use those years well.

A life that only seeks to get and enjoy wealth, power, and pleasure has the wrong priorities.

A life given over to sin of every kind is headed for eternal doom.

A life of unbelief is a wasted life.

But a life of faith in Jesus, a life of worship, a life of serving God, a life of living according to God’s will, is not wasted, whether it is short or long. A life of faith in Jesus is the best life of all — in this world and in the next.