Earlier this year I visited Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. Maybe you have heard of it, if not you may have seen pictures. But if you haven’t you most likely have seen a castle inspired by it. Walt Disney was so impressed by the Neuschwanstein castle that it inspired him to build the Sleeping Beauty castle at Disneyland. And he made it the focal point of the entire park.

It is beautiful. The castle is a marvelous example of Romanesque architecture. It reflects the castle romanticism of the nineteenth century. And its popularity is immense. More than 1.3 million people visit the castle each year. You can’t help but be amazed when you take a tour.

The castle took seventeen years to build and even then it was never finished. King Ludwig II of Bavaria had the castle built. He wanted it as a personal retreat. The King was very shy. In fact, he developed the habit of sleeping during the day so he could be up at night. He preferred not having to be around people he was so extremely introverted. He loved to read books and listen to music.

The most impressive room in the castle is the Hall of Singers. Ludwig built the room so operas could be performed even though he would be the only one in the audience. The castle is filled with paintings of operas especially those by Richard Wagner.

King Ludwig died under mysterious circumstances before the castle was fully completed. Within weeks of his death the government opened it to the public in hopes of paying off the construction debt.

Ludwig only lived in the castle 172 days. He spent less than half a year in his dream home. When our tour guide told us how little time he spent in the castle I thought what a waste. He literally spent all his money on something he hardly even enjoyed. He devoted his energy and skills to a project that was never completed.

I think the same thing can happen to us. We can spend our lives trying to make money and sacrifice our family, health and spiritual life. Our focus can be on wealth and material goods even though we can’t take any of it with us when we die. As my dad used to say, “I’ve never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul.”

And we can end up using our gifts and skills on things that don’t really matter. They have no eternal value. Now is the time for self-evaluation. How are you using your time, talent and treasure? Don’t waste your life.


About Rick McDaniel

Rick McDaniel is a noted author, international communicator and church leader. He is the founder/senior pastor of Richmond Community Church in Richmond, Virginia. The church is known for its contemporary and innovative services and has a worldwide reach through www.highimpactchurch.tv. McDaniel has earned three degrees including an advanced degree from Duke University and is the author of​ six​​ books including his latest "Turn Your Setbacks Into Comebacks." He has traveled and spoken at conferences and churches worldwide spanning six continents.

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