A certain young man had decided on what he considered the most profitable way of investing his life.
“Well, George, what are you going to make of yourself?” an older friend asked him one day when they were discussing the issues of life.
“I have decided to take a course in law,” said the youth, with pride and satisfaction.
“Yes, and then what?” asked the older friend quietly.
“I am going to do my level best to be the leading lawyer in the state.”
“And then what?”
“Oh, I suppose I’ll get married; have a nice home and lots of money. Anyway, I mean to make my mark in the world.”
“And then what?” came the question in the same quiet tone.
“Then what?” repeated the lad rather nervously. His friend was leading on a bit too rapidly to thoughts that he did not wish to entertain. “Then what?” he said again rather slowly—“Why, I suppose I shall die as other men have done.”
And then what?” asked his friend, with the same steady gaze.
The young man made no reply, but the look in his eye gave evidence that the question had not missed the mark. And after the older friend had gone, the young man reviewed their visit. “Then what?” he asked himself when alone in his room. Somehow a great many things looked different.
During that quiet visit with himself he caught a vision of the gulf that lay beyond the long, long trail; and being a boy who thought deeply when his heart led the way, he concluded that after all no investment of life could be genuinely profitable that did not make ample provision for a sure passage across the gulf that lies beyond that long, long trail.
That was many years ago. Today that one-time young man looks back upon more than a half century spent in soul-winning work. Has he regretted the choice he finally made?—Could you see his beaming face, you would know before he told you that he is grateful beyond words for the investment he made of his life. — Adapted from a story by Matilda E. Andross
Christopher Hufnagel pastors the Wellsville, Wayland, Olean, and Bath churches in New York