A crowd gathered to watch Stephen become the first martyr in Christian history. Some of them hurled insults. Others threw stones. When it was all over, no one could say anything more of this man than this: “He died doing what he loved.” Of course, the same could have been said about Steve Irwin, “The Crocodile Hunter,” as a bull stingray fatally stung him in the heart.

While both deaths were great tragedies, the difference between Stephen’s death and Steve Irwin’s death is the fact that Stephen died for the cause of Christ. Steve Irwin made an impact on the world; Stephen made an impact on eternity. At his death, Irwin left a wife, a wildlife conservation organization, a zoo, and many admirers around the world. Stephen left a thriving, emboldened church. A man’s life shines brightest through that which he leaves behind.

Both men died doing what they loved. My question for you is this: Is that which you love worth dying for? You may love your house, your car, your job, or your retirement portfolio. But in the final analysis, only what you did that was motivated by a love for Jesus Christ will matter when you die. This is worth far more than any accolades the world can give you for your service, for it promises an eternal reward.

God knows where your heart is, Christian. It is my prayer that you would love those things which matter most today. Your life will shine brightest through the things you leave behind.

. . . Life without God, to one who has known the richness and joy of life with Him, is unthinkable, impossible. — Phillips Brooks

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.