When time runs short, we often worry about the silliest things. Maybe the reason for that is we don’t know what to do, so taking care of the small stuff makes it seem like we are getting someplace. Only we’re not. Take, for example, the recent release of some new video game systems. People were camping out in tents for days so they would be first in line. Other people got into fights defending their place in the line, or trying to move ahead. All of this while thousands of units of the systems were being held back in a warehouse someplace, so that the demand would make news. It sure did. And who didn’t watch that and think it was, well, a little silly?
For the Sadducees, the silliness surrounded what seems like a game of trivial pursuit or some early version of a math story problem gone bad. If a woman married each of seven brothers, only to have them die before they could have children, whose wife would she be in the afterlife? I think the more important question would be, if the first six brothers died before they could have children, why would the seventh one marry her in the first place? Now that’s a question worth asking!
And Jesus makes it clear that the answer to their question involves focusing on what’s really important. And that is eternal life. Now the Sadducees didn’t believe in life after death. One of my professors used to tell us that that’s why they were sad, you see. But Jesus’ message to them is that they are dead wrong on their belief that there is no afterlife, and it’s time they got it right. The most important thing worth striving for is eternal life, and Jesus is there to give it to them, and us, if we will but ask the right questions and live the Gospel.
So as the year nears its end and time is running short, we have to ask the right questions and attend to the important stuff. Maybe this involves standing in shorter lines during the Christmas shopping season, and spending more time with our families, or in prayer, so that the real message of the end of the year – eternal life through the incarnation of our Savior – can be first in our minds and hearts.