It’s a Wonderful Life

THIS IS MY FAVOURITE MOVIE. It was made in the 1940s and has been popular ever since. It’s about a man who is to lose everything he has, and has decided to end it all and take his own life. But then along comes Clarence, who has been sent to point out to him just how worthwhile is his life.

If this man had not existed, so many people’s lives would have been affected. In his youth he had saved his brother from drowning. Later, his brother, as a naval officer, had been responsible for saving the lives of other sailors on a sinking ship. The man had also averted the death of a chemist’s patient when he recognised that he had been prescribed the wrong drugs. And the examples went on.

What does this have to do with God, and His greatest gift to us—life?

First of all, He gave us the Bible, His written word recording the history of the world. In the Old Testament, through the prophets, He foretold how He would send His Son (Jesus Christ) to be the world’s saviour.

Through his faith, righteousness, benevolence and devotion to his Father, Jesus showed us a perfect life. He suffered and died on the cross, an innocent victim of human cruelty. His self-sacrifice enabled all of us to have the opportunity to be forgiven for our sins. Furthermore, he rose from the dead with a promise to the human race that if we believe in him, if we’re baptised, and if we live faithful lives, we can look forward to to a welcome into God’s Kingdom on earth (Matthew 25:21).

Jesus indicated the imminent fulfilment of these promises when he warned us that in the latter days the earth would be in distress (Luke 21:25–26).

And when he ascended to heaven, angels promised that he would return (Acts 1:11).

God gave us life so that we all should be able to enjoy the wonders of His creation. It’s only reasonable that we should respond by showing our gratitude in prayer. Some of us are slow to realise the enormity of what God has given us.

The film climaxes with the words, ‘No man is a failure who has friends’. And what a friend we have in Jesus, who will always welcome us if we turn to him, and never dismiss us as failures. So look further into the truth of the Bible, and God’s response will be one of love and rejoicing: ‘There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance’ (Luke 15:7).

Dennis Jones

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