(Photo: Warner Bros. Picture)
Leo DiCaprio is a law breaker…not in his real life (as far as I know) - but he definitely crosses the legal lines in his latest cinematic venture as Jay Gatsby.
If you don't believe me, then read the great American novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald entitled The Great Gatsby. If you don't have time for that, you can always plunk down a huge chunk-o-change and take in the film adaptation of the classic novel on the big screen.
As you probably know, "The Great Gatsby" features Titanic stars like Leo DiCaprio and folks who have a spidey sense about things like Tobey McGuire. You'll enjoy a two and a half hour journey back to the roaring 20's packed with flapper dresses, one-of-a-kind cars, and several billion dollars of product placement (Got Prada?).
And you'll also see that Jay Gatsby is a law breaker…
Not that it wasn't easy to dabble in a bit of crime during that period - gangs running rampant, prohibition was in full swing, even the World Series was fixed! For Gatsby, the temptation to bend the rules became infinitely more appealing when status and love became the end game. The possibility of reuniting with the object of his affection allowed him to justify breaking the law to win her back.
To be sure, the Great Gatsby achieved his "greatness" by getting away with more than most people would, but there is one universal law that he ignored that is a 100% guarantee:
Make no mistake, God is not mocked. A person will harvest what they plant. Those who plant only for their own benefit will harvest devastation from their selfishness, but those who plant for the benefit of the Spirit will harvest eternal life from the Spirit (Galatians 6:7-8).
"A person will harvest what they plant" - or to put this surety another way - you will reap what you sow.
It's not "you might reap what you sow," or "chances are that you will harvest what you plant," it is you will…
You will find your life full of loneliness when you plant seeds of hate.
You will reap a harvest of bitterness when you sow unforgiveness.
And like the Great Gatsby, you will harvest destruction when you scatter the kernels of jealousy, greed, cruelty, pride and selfishness.
Why? Because "God is not mocked"! He wove the law of reaping and sowing into the fabric of the universe, and one of the biggest and most common mistakes I've witnessed in the lives of those around me is forgetting that this principle is non-negotiable.
But praise God, even though we harvest what we plant in the soil of our sinful nature, there is another garden in life where the ground is incredibly rich and the harvest is bountiful. Just as sure as the sowing of sin brings destruction, so the investment of our time, talent, and treasures in the Kingdom of God through the power of the Holy Spirit will bring eternal life.
It's not that doing good works and pleasing God earns our entrance to heaven, rather "eternal life" in this passage refers to the way Jesus defines it:
"Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (John 17:3).
You see, "eternal life" is not just a quantity thing - it's a quality thing as well! When we emulate and imitate the Great Gatsby by planting the seeds of living for pointless and petty pursuits, we are setting ourselves up for the certain destruction of our relationships, health, happiness, and even our very lives.
But when we yield to the power and presence of the Holy Spirit and live each moment for the Great God, the landscape of our lives will begin to take on the beauty and eternal value of heaven itself.
So what will it be for you, my friend? The Great Gatsby movie may perhaps be a fun way to escape from everyday life for a bit and marvel at the pre-war America that was built on opulence – but…
America in 2013 is in a real spiritual battle for the lives and souls of those who don't know Jesus Christ. Committing yourself to THE Cause of Christ is a great way to sow the seeds of the gospel in the lives of our friends and see a harvest that matters now and for all eternity!