Eternity is impossible for the human mind to grasp.
We talk about it even though we can’t really understand what it means because it’s so far outside our experience and imagination.
But it’s a fact and it matters.
The life I live on earth, made up of days, years and decades is but a blip on the screen of God’s eternal timeline.
Yet what I do here and now will ripple throughout forever.
Taking hold of that fact, clinging tightly to that truth can help me make choices that will make a real difference.
To win the contest you must deny yourselves many things that would keep you from doing your best. An athlete goes to all this trouble just to win a blue ribbon or a silver cup, but we do it for a heavenly reward that never disappears.I Corinthians 9:25 TL
I remember one particularly grueling semester in college. I had foolishly stacked five upper level political science classes on top of one another thinking that taking them together would be easier.
That was a dumb idea.
The end of semester assignments included 200 pages of written term papers along with essay tests and other random bits. For two weeks I fell asleep on my bedroom floor, pen in hand, legal pad underneath my head and surrounded by dozens of open books I used for reference.
After composing the papers, I had to type them, add footnotes and bibliography and deliver them. All back before computers and word processing programs made it easy and electronic!
Oh, how I wanted to give up and give in! I was certain that I was not going to make it. I just knew that my body or mind or both would give out before I completed the task.
But they didn’t and I did manage to make it through.
I was willing to put forth the effort and pay the price for a letter grade!
No one cares what I made on those essays. No one asks me about my college classes or grades. At 56 I can’t even remember what I wrote about.
Now I face a much more challenging task: Living without the companionship of one of my precious children. The “grade” I make on this effort has eternal impact.
This is the Valley of Weeping, yet Christ promises it will become a place of refreshing.
“When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of springs where pools of blessing and refreshment collect after rains!”
Psalm 84:6 TLB
I can’t see an end for this grueling work. There’s no “semester break” circled on my calendar.
But there will be an end to this toil and pain-just as surely as there was an end those many years ago.
As for us, we have this large crowd of witnesses around us. So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. 2 Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right side of God’s throne.Hebrews 12:1-2
And the reward for faithfully completing this assignment is so much more valuable than a good grade.
Yet, my brothers, I do not consider myself to have “arrived”, spiritually, nor do I consider myself already perfect. But I keep going on, grasping ever more firmly that purpose for which Christ grasped me. My brothers, I do not consider myself to have fully grasped it even now. But I do concentrate on this: I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal—my reward the honour of being called by God in Christ.Phillipians 3:12-16
This reward is eternal-a never-ending supply of God’s grace and love and joy that will overwhelm the toil and pain I’ve endured.
So while I wait, I encourage my heart with this truth:
We are cracked and chipped from our afflictions on all sides, but we are not crushed by them. We are bewildered at times, but we do not give in to despair. 9 We are persecuted, but we have not been abandoned. We have been knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our bodies the reality of the brutal death and suffering of Jesus. As a result, His resurrection life rises and reveals its wondrous power in our bodies as well. 11 For while we live, we are constantly handed over to death on account ]f Jesus so that His life may be revealed even in our mortal bodies of flesh.2 Corinthians 4:8 VOICE
God invites me to join Him in the work He is doing.
Isn’t that mind-blowing?
He could announce the Gospel from the mountaintops or have angels declare it from the heavens, but He doesn’t.
He has ordained that these fragile bodies of ours, these fickle hearts, these often disobedient hands carry the Good News to the ends of the earth.
The God of Heaven entrusts me with His love, empowers me with His strength and commissions me as an ambassador of reconciliation to reach a world longing for reconciliation-with Him and with one another.
So when I look up and say, “I don’t have time”. He says, “Get your priorities straight.”
When I whine, “I don’t know what to do”. He says, “I’ve got that covered. Just look around and do what’s at hand.”
When I groan, “It won’t make a difference anyway”. He says, “Do you doubt the power of obedience to the Gospel to change the world?”
My life makes a difference.
Your life makes a difference.
Eternity is shaped, in part, by how we spend it. ❤
This post is the second in a series I began writing for a presentation I gave last Saturday entitled “Don’t Grow Weary In Doing Well: Making Kingdom Work a Priority”.
This is post is the third in a series I wrote for a presentation entitled “Don’t Grow Weary In Doing Well: Making Kingdom Work a Priority”.
If you want to read the first post, you can find it here: https://thelifeididntchoose.com/2020/02/07/today-is-a-gift/