Like me, have you ever had one of those long daydreaming moments while you should be praying? You know the scenario: you are supposed to be talking to the Lord, but you suddenly find yourself somewhere else mentally! This morning was one of those times for me.
I caught myself daydreaming about eternity. My thoughts did not just focus on what eternity would be like or when God would call me to heaven. Instead, I mused on how current-day believers seem to focus very little on eternity. In my 27 years as a Christian, I seem to remember much more emphasis on our eternal reward than I hear today. It seems like things have shifted to the point that many believe our best life is now.
The late Dr. E.V. Hill would always say, “This ain’t it!” He knew that there was much more to look forward to than the best this earth has to offer. We may know this somewhere in our doctrinal memories, but do we live knowing that this temporal planet is a shadow of our true home? How healthy is our eternal perspective? Do we have a clear understanding:
That we will receive eternal rewards for all that’s done on earth. 1 Corinthians 5:10 says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
That we will live forever in glorified bodies serving God with Christ in real eternal space/time dimensions. Eternity is not a state of consciousness; it is real. Read Revelation 21:1-27. It boasts of a new heaven, new earth, and a new city.
That eternity is a “righting” of everything that’s wrong in this realm. Revelation 21:5 tells us, “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ ”
I don’t know about you, but these sound good to me. Paul the Apostle said he had a desire to depart this world and be with Christ, which was “far better.” I fear that the narcissism and consumerism in our culture has affected us by resulting in shortsightedness. Perhaps we need to adjust our lenses and add a bit of eternity in our frames.
It is true that there is a danger to focusing solely on eternity. Such a narrow focus can cause us to abdicate this earth and leave it to those who are not kingdom-minded. This is as much a mistake as ignoring eternity. It’s not either or, but both. We ought to long for heaven and home while still continuing to impact this world, making it more like the Kingdom of Heaven until Jesus comes.
When we labor with a healthy eternal perspective we find that:
Pain is much easier to bear knowing it’s temporary.
How you are treated or mistreated in this life is minimized.
Joy becomes more abundant.
We exhibit more boldness for God.
We are more apt to remain faithful to God regardless of the circumstances.
We need to maximize every opportunity we have here and now.
I am convinced God wants earth to be as it is in heaven. I am saddened that so many have abandoned their earthy responsibility to “go” and disciple nations while simply waiting for the rapture. This unbalanced approach does not please God. We are to labor for the Kingdom to come to earth in the here and now, while rejoicing in the promised Kingdom coming in the by and by.
If you knew your home was going to be demolished some day (you know not when) and a new imperishable one would be built in its place, does that mean you let it rot now? Should you stop cleaning floors or washing dishes? Furthermore, if you buy some new, state-of-the-art appliance that has changed your life, would you refuse to share information with your neighbors so they wouldn’t have access to a better life? Of course not. Such thoughts seem ludicrous.
In like manner, we should not stop trying to change our world simply because a new one is coming someday. But we do need to long for the new one. How’s your EQ—Eternity Quotient? If it’s weak, lets get back to what Paul admonished, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things…” (Colossians 3:2). Amazing things happen when you lift your head above the clouds.