He was a young man with a future. As the only man left in the family, he was fortunate to have a dedicated mother who took in washing to put her ambitious son through Seminary. She was hoping for a priest; what she got was a monster.
Tiflis Orthodox Seminary was no place for a young Joseph Stalin. Impressed by the writings of Karl Marx, he gave up on God to pursue a career dedicated to social change and personal power. He failed to make the priesthood, but as a self-serving insurrectionist, he was a smashing success.
After Lenin died in 1924, Stalin set out to destroy the old party leadership, executing potential rivals, and assuming the position as leader of the Soviet Union. When he died in 1953, he left an unenviable legacy of thousands executed to perpetuate his hold on power. He will go down in infamy as the man responsible for the death of perhaps more people than any other in history, ranging from a low of three million to as many as sixty million people. Hard-drinking and a life-time of heavy smoking no doubt contributed to his death from a hemorrhagic stroke.
At some point in the process, Stalin had to face up to life’s most important choice: what will you do with God? It is a choice every one of us must make, and our decision will determine the purpose and outcome of our life.
To begin with, if there is no God, there is no coherent meaning to life. Without God, you lose the sacred essence of human existence. What meaning do you attach to life? How do you find a definitive purpose for your presence on earth? Your existence is an accident, your journey through life survival of the fittest, and your death a meaningless end to it all.
And if there is no God, there is no moral law. Without an objective standard of right and wrong, morality is whatever you choose it to be. Your drives, your interests, and your station in life determine what and who you will be; you become a god unto yourself.
And if there is no God, there is no heaven and no hell, no life after death. This life is as good as it gets; this is the only heaven you will ever know. Your dreams and drives end at the grave; there is no tomorrow. Did your life count? Did your sacrifices, your failures, and your accomplishments mean anything?
And if there is no God, there is no hope for ultimate justice. For Joseph Stalin or Mother Teresa, it’s all the same. For each, there would be no reward and no justice … if there is no God.
But Jesus proves there is a God, and that changes everything.
The strength of our faith is determined by its object. Some have chosen to believe in the Buddha; others in Joseph Smith or the Prophet Muhammad. I have chosen to believe in Jesus Christ.
The Apostle John said, “In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.” He would like to give meaning to your existence, purpose to your journey, and peace of mind that comes from knowing that, in the end, eternal life awaits. It all begins with Jesus Christ and what you do with Him is going to make all the difference in your world.