Janie B. Cheaney: Lives of eternal significance

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, December 11th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. What is the nature of the Christian life? Here’s WORLD Radio’s Janie B. Cheaney.


We know, sort of, what life is: the force of change, growth, and decline. A life, though, is a mystery. A life is associated with a single being: a daffodil, a dragonfly, a horse, or a man. 

Depending on who you ask, “Life” is a force, or a spirit, or a pool of random particles that somehow converge. But a life is a consequence.

Life either happened randomly and without intention, or it didn’t. I believe it happened with intention. I believe it’s intentional and dynamic, an energy generated by the relationship of Father, Son, and Spirit.

We’re told the first human being was formed from dust, and the next with a bone from the first, and together they made complementary music that echoes the triadic nature of God Himself: 1+1=1. Multiplying lives, each one noticed and named, each one consequential.

But we forget. There are so many of us, for one thing, and so many of us seem to have no clue how consequential we are. The strong make the weak feel helpless and insignificant. 

Nature overpowers, circumstances overwhelm, and if we’re not at war with each other, we’re at war with ourselves. But that, too, is a consequence. We forget. And it’s partly because we forgot that Jesus, who himself is life, became a life, and the light of men.

We speak of significant people, of those who “made a difference,” like Buddha, Moses, Confucius, Beethoven, and Leonardo.

But everyone makes a difference, positive or negative. If they only knew.

Jesus says: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” But how?

“Look,” he says: “here’s my life. I’m the only man who ever lived with the authority to take it up. And now watch: I will lay it down. And I’ll take it up again.

“Watch carefully, and then you do the same. You have a life—I gave it to you. And now I ask you to lay it down—that is, give it back to me—and take it up again as something new and eternally consequential.

“Watch me; don’t try to do this on your own. Lay it down, and take it up. Lay it down . . . take it up.

“This is hard, and it may take some practice. Some of you won’t get the hang of it until your life is almost over. But the only way to matter eternally is to hand your life to me and let me give it back. With my light shining through it.”

For WORLD Radio, I’m Janie B. Cheaney.

(Photo/Creative Commons, Flickr)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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