Sold a lie
Mainstream media is one of the most powerful weapons in the arsenal of any society. When wielded correctly it can be the driving force for social reform and advocacy. Unfortunately, I’ve witnessed the implications of its abuse in my own island. The influence of western societies in Jamaica is very real and has begun dictate what is popular thought.
There is an influx of unChristian and baseless opinions that pervade our screens and airwaves, as men and women who have become a law unto themselves decide what is truth. We hear mantras like “do you” or “do what makes you happy” and “you only live once”. I believe there is a heightened obsession with self-preservation and a “hustle and grind” mentality, making us do whatever we need to do to get to the top.
We’ve been sold a lie that this temporal realm is all that we need to strive for and momentary gratification is the sum and total of this life. We’ve been told both directly and indirectly that this life is solely about us and our pursuits, and this has led us to be a self-centered and self-seeking generation, with a very myopic view of what is important.
A series of unfortunate events
Death has always had an incredible way of bringing things into perspective and providing for us the correct lens through which we should view life. I am by nature a reflective person and God often uses those times of reflections to teach me valuable lessons. In the space of a week and a half I heard about six deaths, none particularly close to me but they all left an indelible impression on my heart and mind. Four of those deaths were people in my age group and this reality sent me into a whirlwind of emotions.
It began one day when I was meditating on some things I've been wanting to pursue for Kingdom advancement. Those conversations with the Lord usually end up with calculated excuses as to why I have yet to begin them. I was a little down about my selfishness and inactivity, so God saw it fit to use the subsequent events to shift my perspective.
The first news came as I casually went to a restaurant I usually get lunch from, but had not visited in about two weeks. There was always a friendly young man who I developed a pleasant relationship with who would usually serve me. I went in expecting to see him, but I did not and I did not make much of it.
After I completed my order, I saw the staff wearing buttons on their shirts. I took a quick glance and saw that it had my little friend’s face on it and information regarding his funeral. He died! My mind could not reconcile how I literally saw him like two weeks prior and now I’d never see him again. Then there came news after news about persons I’ve had cordial interactions with or relatives of my friends just dying!
It all came to a climax as I heard of the tragic death of a talented and beautiful young lady who was a part of the circuit of churches I belonged to. Though we weren’t close, the gravity of her death hit me like a ton of bricks. I stood at the bus stop and just stared into space for about half an hour, while the frailty of this life came to deeper meaning. These thoughts filled my head: “I can’t just live for myself!”, “People need to know that there is more to this life than what we see”, “I need to share the gospel with everyone I encounter” and “I need to live purposefully and do all God has called me to do”.
For days I asked God to guard this perspective for me, because this was the first time the true meaning of life was made unshakably real to me. I needed all of that more than I thought I did. Though death is indescribably painful, God seems to use it to bring insight and meaning to the living.
The phrases eternal perspective and eternal investment have taken on new dimensions for me. I now aggressively fight against selfishness, pride, fear and purposelessness because these can cloud my vision of what is important. I’m consciously choosing to invest in things with eternal implications and say yes to God’s desires for me. I encourage you to ask God to renew your perspective and align your priorities to His, as a life lived outside of His will is such a waste.
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew chapter 6, verses 19-21).
"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm chapter 90, verse 12).
Jhenelle has been a born again Christian for almost 17 years. She is grateful for the opportunity given by the Lord to mix all her passions, dreams, giftings and skills together.