In the past year, my perspective has undergone a massive reorientation. I suppose it’s because I’m finally old enough to be confronted with the imminent reality of death.
I’ve realized that, before I know it, I’ll find myself at the last moment of my life, because such is the passage of time. For me in that moment, everything worldly will pass away. My possessions, successes, appearance, family unit, marriage, everything that I’ve sought or worked for will be gone like a wisp of smoke in the wind. Gone like the wildflowers. Gone.
This present reality is passing away.
So why strive for money or comfort? Why entertain vanity or selfishness or sin? There is no eternal value there. Why demand my rights today? Why seek pleasure or happiness at the expense of godliness? No, these are not the way of wisdom.
Wisdom dictates that this life be lived with the next life in mind. You see, through Jesus we can have eternal life with God. If you want to know how, read about the gospel here.
According to the Bible, in this life there are things that do indeed hold eternal value for those under the grace of God (anyone who has chosen to follow Jesus).
These are things such as:
- Loving others. 1 Corinthians 13
- Obeying God and His way of living. Matthew 16:27
- Seeking Him. Hebrews 11:6
- Doing good. Ephesians 6:8, 2 Corinthians 5:10
- Sacrificing for the sake of the gospel. Mark 10:29-30
- Privately praying, fasting, and giving. Matthew 6:1-18
- Loving our enemies. Matthew 5:43-48
- Meeting the needs of others. Mark 9:41
- Withstanding trials and persecution. James 1:12, Matthew 5:12
- Faithfully stewarding our resources. Matthew 25:21
- Laboring for God. 1 Corinthians 3:8
Things, even relationships in the sense that we now know them, aren’t eternal. People are eternal. So maybe parenting isn’t so much about giving our children every educational opportunity, every advantage, every shiny thing. Maybe it’s more about cultivating their hearts to know and love God.
Maybe our finances aren’t so much about gaining comfort and fancy, fun possessions. Maybe they’re more about giving generously and demonstrating our faithfulness to God’s agenda for the world and our allegiance to Him over material things.
And maybe our day to day living isn’t so much about “having a good life” and being “happy” as it is about laying ourselves down on God’s alter and letting Him live through us.
Gaining this eternal perspective has changed me, and I know I’ll never be the same. My understanding of life has risen higher than I ever thought it could. I am so thankful that God, in His great grace, has allowed me to raise my sight and take a higher view of life. When I feel myself starting to get sucked back in to the world right in front of my nose, I quietly remind myself, “It’s all passing away,” and my perspective shifts back to God’s ultimate reality.
I see trials differently. I see my interests differently. I see my money differently.
I now have the opportunity and privilege of living out this new understanding for the rest of my days, and thereby benefiting for ALL ETERNITY. Worthwhile? I’d say so.