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Gaining an Eternal Perspective

writing with a fountain pen

So much of what we do . . . just doesn't matter!

Now at first blush, that statement might seem rather cynical, defeatist and negative.  But it really isn’t.  It’s just a statement that declares the obvious.  In light of eternity – the millions and millions of years we’ll spend in the new heavens and new earth – much of what we do right now just doesn’t matter.

Does it really matter if the new paint job in your master bedroom is not the perfect color you had in mind?  Does it really matter that an inconsiderate oaf scaped the side of your new car?  Does it really matter that somebody thinks you are overzealous simply because you attend church once a week?  Does it matter that somebody at work doesn’t like you?

The palmist captures the insignificance of this life with these words: “The years of life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.”  (Ps. 90:10)

Much of our planning is rooted in the idea that we are in control of our lives and that we can do anything we set our minds to.  James reminds us that planning which excludes God is futile at best.  “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ — yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”   (James 4:13-14).  James goes on to remind us that we should always have the mindset that if the Lord is willing, we’ll be able to pursue this or that course of action.

Have you ever considered how the world will be different the day after you die?  (Frankly, it probably won’t be much different at all.)  The sun will come up, people will go to work, parties will be held, vacations will be enjoyed, children will be born, people will buy houses, and . . . . life will go on.  A relatively small group of people will remember you.  An even smaller group will miss you.  But life will not suddenly grind to a halt simply because you pass away.

Most of us can remember our parents and grandparents quite well.  Some of us might have even known and enjoyed our great grandparents.  But once you get past the generation of your great grandparents, the memories start to fade fast.  In fact, I’m not even sure I know a single relative past my great grandparents.

There will come a time when there is not a single person on this planet who can remember who you were.

Humbling, isn’t it!

Our faith in Christ has a decidedly future orientation to it.  The Apostle Paul wrote this, “If we have hoped in Christ only for this life, we are of all men most to be pitied.”  (1 Corinthians 15:19) In other words – if the only reason we’re trusting in Christ is for the present-day blessings he provides, we are to be pitied.  We don’t believe in Christ primarily for the “benefits” he brings to this present life – although there are many.  We believe in Christ for the glorious future he promises us in heaven.

sunlight streaming through a forest

We are encouraged in Scripture to set our minds on things above, where Christ now lives.  Paul encourages us to always be heavenly minded: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”  (Colossians 3:1-4)

We need to focus our minds and attention on eternity.  The fact that we will live forever – with Jesus – should grip our hearts and minds each day.  And it should put in perspective the affairs of this present world.  Missionary C.T. Studd once said, “Only one life, 'twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” 

With the Apostle Paul, let’s look to “what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.”  (1 Corinthians 2:9)




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