A Horse! A Horse!

richard iii
Statue of Richard III at Leicester Cathedral

From time to time, a line from Shakespeare comes to mind. My high school English teacher did a good job insisting that I memorize some of Shakespeare’s famous quotes. Recently, such a line surfaced. In the play “Richard III”, the king cries out, “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!” after his horse is killed in battle, leaving him at the mercy of his enemies.

I was frustrated looking for my keys and said out loud, “My keys! My keys! My kingdom for my keys!” Generally, I use the phrase when I’m looking for something that is otherwise unimportant, but highly important at that exact time. King Richard likely had dozens of horses in his stables. However, here he was without a horse and it was likely he would lose his realm and his life. For Richard, the normally insignificant had become of ultimate importance. Of what benefit is a kingdom to a dead man?

I thought of the words of Jesus: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26, NKJV). Many people spend the days of their lives trying to gain an abundance of material possessions. The quest for a larger house, a more expensive car, the best clothing, and more and more luxurious things, becomes an all consuming pursuit. Little, if any, time is devoted to the eternally important spiritual dimension of their lives. Of what benefit is it to amass material possessions at the expense of loss of eternal life?

What a tragic way to live! For people to come to the end of their days and find they have missed eternal life by chasing trinkets will be the ultimate loss. God’s word says, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:9-10, ESV). A quote by C.T. Studd powerfully presses this point:

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Prayer: Dear Lord, please help us invest our time and abilities in those things that are of eternal value.

~ Brother Roy

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