In this past Wednesday’s Bible class, I thought about a story that I think of quite often when discussing the subject matter of life, death, & eternity. It’s a story about a father talking to his son about life and discussing the plans that he has as graduation gets closer. The dad wants to know what his son’s plans are. His son told him that after he graduates high school he will go onto college to get his degree; the Father asked the son, “what then?” The son said he will then find his dream job in the career field of his choice. The father asked his son, “what then?” The son said he is going to hopefully find a wonderful woman to marry and have a few kids. The father asked his son, “what then?” The son said he will work til he can retire and hopefully be able to relax growing old with his lovely wife and play with the grandchildren. The father asked his son, “what then?” The son said, I guess all that’s left is to die. The father asked his son, “what then?”
That story, no matter how many times I have heard it, said it, thought of it always brings to my mind how we should be living each and every day that we are blessed with by our Creator God, and that is living each day with eternity in mind. Ask yourself as to how much we thought about eternity this past week? The fact is, we get caught up with all the hustle and bustle of life and daily activities, work, etc. that we forget about the end. We get so busy planning our life, a life that as James says, “is even a vapor that appears for a short time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14), that we fail to plan for eternity. Physically, when we think of our secular jobs and the performance evaluation that will come every year, we make sure that we are performing as expected. But what alludes us is the biggest evaluation we will ever get and will be for an eternity! (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:10,11; Hebrews 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10). When you read those verses that speaks of death, judgement, eternity, is this something we believe? If we really believe what the Bible says and we have a proper view of eternity, such will drastically affect how we live, thereby motivating us to live according to the word of the Lord, rather than conforming to the world. We will do as Paul said in Romans 12, we will transform by the renewing of our mind (12:2) and we will do as Paul said in Colossians 3, setting our affections on things above, not on this earth (3:1-3). Again, if we really believe that you are going to stand before the judgement seat of Christ, to give an account for what you have done in this body whether it be good or evil (Eccl. 12:14), then each and every day you live, you will live it with eternity in mind. Because in this judgment, every thought, every word, every action will be brought into judgment. With such, we will be motivated to quit the excuse-making for lack of our spiritual growth. We get in the mode of saying, “I can’t help the way that I am” and attempt to excuse some sin or shortcoming. We should not get caught up in that thinking. That’s a crutch that our society loves to use to justify their thoughts and actions, but God is NOT going to accept it. When we are truly living with eternity in mind, we
are constantly looking for those attitudes and actions that are not pleasing to the Lord and will strive to control our anger, our tongues, and the very thoughts of our hearts. Remember, God will hold us accountable for our thoughts and attitudes “For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). The world justifies certain attitudes and actions, things that the Proverb writer says the Lord hates (Proverbs 6:16-19). This means that we are not going to settle for where we are. The danger of living according to the human standard exists every day. What helps us is knowing that we will not be judged according to human standards, but by God’s standard! (John 12:48) One who lives with eternity in view, we will strive to EXCEL ALL THE MORE EVERY DAY! We will not settle to do as the Corinthians were doing, “comparing ourselves among ourselves” and we think we are good enough or as I have heard, “in my opinion, the good I do outweighs the bad.” That’s human reasoning that we shouldn’t get caught up in. Take a moment and imagine right now that you are standing before God the Creator, and your life under examination is about: “Did we take heed to ourselves and to the doctrine, did we continue in them, not only to save ourselves, but others who heard us?” (1 Tim. 4:16). Who did we reach out to about the Gospel?” How busy were we in the church? As members of the body of Christ, were we “ joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, effectively working, doing our share, causing growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love?” (Eph. 4:16) Were we like the 5 and 2 talent servants in Matthew 25 with the thought of using our talents, our abilities with invested interest in the work of the kingdom of our Lord? These are serious questions that we need evaluate now.
In my secular jobs I have be in my supervisor’s office going over my annual performance evaluation. Interestingly if my supervisor advised me of an area that I need to work on, then it was in my best interest to work on that area for the upcoming annual performance evaluation. Now I could slack off and do whatever I wanted and not take it seriously only to end up with a disciplinary action in my personnel file and possibly lose my job or I could get busy in actively putting forth the effort to be better. The thing is, I knew when the performance evaluation would be every year. Although I know spiritually there is going to be an evaluation at judgment, I don’t know when it’s going to be. The Lord could come back today or tomorrow, I could die today or tomorrow, I don’t know that part. But I do know that I have what the Lord expects of me and I know that I need to be active in doing my best for the Master, seeking Him first in all things.
I want us to think about our day-to-day living. When we live day to day with eternity in mind, we are going to be ever-so concerned and meticulous in the decisions we make, not just for ourselves, but also for our families, for those who we work with, and influence (Colossians 3:23-25). We make what I call knee-jerk decisions about something worldly that comes up and how often is the world placed at the forefront of everything and no thought was given to the Lord, the service rightfully due to Him and His church. We will be judged according to whether we really let our light shine through our good works (Matt. 5:16), by how diligent we were in our daily endeavors for the Lord and for His people (Rom. 12:9-21). I look at the apostle Paul and I see a man who lived with eternity in mind (cf. Phil. 1:20-24). Although Paul experienced horrific external circumstances, he lived with eternity in mind. We should note that Paul had a hope of such an eternity with the Lord. I see Paul waking up with eternity on his mind and going to sleep with eternity on his mind. So many distractions are out there in this world that try to keep us from living with eternity in mind.
Friends, to live with eternity in mind will have a drastic effect on our everyday lives. It will motivate us to think on what Paul said to the Philippians 4:8. It will motivate us to make decisions that put are righteous and godly (Colossians 3:17). Living with eternity in view is going to motivate us to “deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:12,13).
I hope you have been thinking about eternity. Do an examination as Paul said in 2 Cor. 13:5. Now fast-forward to the end of our life and you are taking your last breath. Now ask yourself, “What then?”
May eternity always be on our mind.
Something to think about. Have a great week! – DJ 😊