Thursday, January 10, 2013

Living with Eternity in Mind

     It’s 2013. For many of us, not much has changed since ten days ago, a time we now refer to as “last year." We’re still the same person, are doing the same things, and still have the same challenges in life set before us as we did then. Solomon expressed his thoughts on this feeling in Ecclesiastes: “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”† It seems as though the past few weeks were not only a time to reflect on Jesus’ coming to earth as a baby, spend time with family and friends, and celebrate the new year, but a period in which we escaped the business of life. We make such a big deal about the last night of one year and the first day of the next, yet when they’re past, nothing has physically changed by the temporal mile-marker. Such an event may change the present status, but then it will cease to change.
     The German author and novelist Johann Paul Friedrich Richter, who went under the pseudonym of Jean Paul, once said, “Every man regards his own life as the New Year’s Eve of time.”† To tell the truth, Paul was right. Humans get so wrapped up in themselves sometimes, that they think they’re the final plateau – the next best thing to perfection. We think we’re a reason to celebrate. Since we’re so close to perfection, we only have to do enough to make sure we’re on top: coasting and surviving. We can sit back and watch the party roll on. We don’t realize that compared to the glory of God and that which will be shown in us in heaven, we’re insignificant and ignorant of the wisdom and infiniteness of God and what he created. “Is there anything of which one can say, 'Look! This is something new!'? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time."
     But that’s not how God calls us to live our lives. He wants us to put Him first. Our life shouldn't revolve around us, like we sometimes imagine the year to revolve around the split second between December 31st and January 1st. Besides, it’s just a dot in time in the midst of 365 days. This should ring a bell. Our lives are just a moment compared to “His story”; just a single frame on an infinite roll of film. Eugene Peterson puts it this way, “If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at."* We can’t just carry His Message around, holding on to it like a forgotten letter; we have to share it. We aren't letting God shine his “brightness” through us if we don’t follow Him in completing the tasks that he sets before us. We only have a short amount of time here on earth, and He may call us to change our neighborhoods, communities, nations, or even world. Unlike the two days that only succeed in changing the calendar that hangs on your wall, we need to live our lives parallel with God’s plan to change hearts. Our hypothetical headstone should have more than just a dash between two dates: a complete volume of someone who lived their life intentionally, and that, when they came full circle, they had revolved around God.
     Live, not counting your years, but making your years count. Know that only God knows the number to your years, and he will keep it a secret – he’s done it for eternity. Live to glorify him, because if you do, your life will not be something to regret. Stop being the one coasting and barely surviving; be the one that is running the race and thriving. “For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body."†

Justin Gummi

†Scripture quotations are taken from Ecclesiastes and 2 Corinthians in the New International Version, 1984
Jean Paul’s quote was taken from

*Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of 2 Corinthians 4:7 was taken from The Message, via


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