I have adopted the title for this post– “To Have and Have Not” from a 1944 romance-war-adventure film. This Howard Hawks directed classic stars Humphrey Bogart, Walter Brennan, and the young and beautiful Lauren Bacall in her first film. By all accounts, the movie is a thriller and was a tremendous success. I have never seen the movie, but I have heard and read a lot about it.
However, recently while I was watching the Turner Classic Movies channel, I got a peek at a promo for “To Have and Have Not”. The title grabbed me violently, and I impetuously thought about Mark 8:36: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” This scripture suddenly came alive, and I was force to ask myself, “What good is it to have all the riches this world has to offer; including its glitz and its glamour if I do not have Jesus?”.
Rest assured my friends the things of this world are temporary. Most of us will get to that dreaded point in life when things become meaningless, and we become dependent. At that point, nothing matters–only Jesus and your salvation. I have seen many people in this state over the years. Some were miserable; trying to relive the past. Others were cheerful and optimistic.
The optimistic ones remind me of the apostle Paul, who, at the end of his life and in his last letter to young Timothy, writes: “I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is waiting for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day, but not to me only, but unto all that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8). There is a tremendous amount of optimism, and joy, and hope, and cheerfulness in those words. Sadly, not all of us will have that end of life experience. Some of us will be miserable.
Some years ago I asked a man who was supposedly at the end of his life, if his current situation upsets him at all. He said, “No! It is part of the life cycle”. To him, one lives and one dies and that is it. He believes that death is final. He is wrong. The Bible says, “And just as man can only die once, after death comes the Judgment, ” (Hebrews 9:27). For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to what he has done, whether virtuous or sinful. Further, “The Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works”. (Matthew 16:27).