The Most Important Things in Life: What REALLY Matters and Why

Apr 24, 2024

The Important Things In Life

Look, we’ve all been there. 

Caught up in the rat race, chasing wealth, status, physical pleasures.

Devoting every waking hour to acquiring more stuff, more accolades, more sensual gratification.

Until one day, we’re faced with a sobering reality check that puts it all in perspective:

What we’ve thought all along are the most important things in life, are not. 

And that’s what I’d like to talk about today by sharing a story with you – the story of a man with four wives.

Shadows of Man and 4 Women

‘The Man With 4 Wives’

There once was a man who had four wives.

His first wife is the one he loves the most.

They went everywhere together and he would do anything for her.

His second wife was someone he loved very much. He worked hard for her and often went to see her.

He was fond of his third wife, whom he’d made sure was taken care of.

From time to time, he’d stop by to see her, just to make sure she was okay.

The fourth wife was someone he’d never cared about.

He never thought of her and never went to see her.

The man continued living his life in this way until one day he was accused of a serious crime, sent to prison and sentenced to death.

Before being executed, he begged to return home to say goodbye to his beloved wives one last time.

The guard on duty sympathized and secretly allowed the man to sneak out to say his final goodbyes.

A hand unlocking a jail cell, and a guard standing in silhouette at the end of the corridor

When the man arrived home, he quickly went to his first wife and asked her: “What will you do when I die?”

The first wife looked at him stony-face and replied in a cold tone: “When you die, we’re done.”

He felt like a lightning bolt had struck him; how could this woman be so heartless and cruel?

He immediately regretted having devoted himself to this wife at all.

Then he went to see his second wife.

He asked her the same question: “What will you do when I die?”

She answered right away with a straight face: “When you die, I’ll find someone else.”

Again, the man couldn’t believe his ears – he was shocked, saddened and angered by his wife’s cutting words.

Again, he regretted the time and energy he’d spent on trying to make her happy.

He then decided to visit his third wife to see what she had to say; he thought he might be able to at least count on her to stand by him.

With tears beginning to brim in his eyes, asked: “If I were to die, what would you do?”

She smiled at him and answered, “When you die, I’ll make sure you have a proper funeral, don’t worry.”

It was clear she didn’t love him, but at least she cared enough to take care of things, which made him feel a little better.

He was just about to return to prison and face his punishment when he suddenly remembered his fourth wife, the one he’d never even visited.

He went to find her and asked, “If I were to die, what would you do?”

She took his hands in hers, looked him lovingly in the eyes and said: “When you die, I will follow you and stay with you.”

At first the man smiled, as he was so happy to realize that at least ONE of his wives loved him – but then he quickly felt full of regret.

He’d realized too late the value of this devoted wife to whom he’d paid no attention during his life.

Lost for words and in a state of despair, he returned to jail and received his punishment.

At the exact moment he died, his fourth wife died as well.

Now, you’ve probably already worked out the meaning of the story and the metaphor of the four wives, right?

The story teaches us that we ALL have four ‘wives’:

The first wife represents our physical body.

During life, we nourish and lavish it with attention, giving it everything it desires.

But when we die, it doesn’t accompany us – it’s ‘done’ and is worth no more than a piece of wood.

The second wife symbolizes wealth, status, and material possessions – houses, cars, awards, titles.

We work tirelessly in pursuit of these while we’re alive.

But again, they are left behind when we pass and quickly become the possessions of others.

The third wife represents our family – our parents, children and other relatives.

They will properly send us off and make merit for us after death.

But that bond, too, is temporary as they must eventually let us go.

Finally, the fourth wife alone goes with us.

She represents our good and bad karma.

What REALLY Matters. . .

The reality is that when we die, we cannot take ANYTHING material with us.

The only things that follow us into the next life are the consequences of our thoughts, speech and actions is this one.

If you think about a funeral, how many eulogies are there about how much money person x had, how many cars or houses they owned?

Not many — if any.


Because they’re not the things that REALLY matter in this life.

So, let’s focus on the things that do. . .


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