This months guest blog is from Paul Morris. Paul is the Teaching Pastor at Hope Church, Rotherham and Junction 28 Church, Derbyshire. He has served in Church leadership for many year and has a heart for international missions and has visited a number of countries including Sierra Leone, Kenya, Macedonia, Tanzania and the USA. He has been married to Victoria for over 30 years and they have three children Aaron, Jordan and Bethany
Matthew 6: 19-21
2 Corinthians 4: 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
It’s a sobering and often ignored truth that our life here on earth is but a tiny speck on the timeline of eternity. The difference between a human lifespan and eternity is almost like trying to compare a drop of water to an ocean. In light of this the Bible encourages us to live with an eternal perspective on our lives.
Many of Jesus’ parables remind us of the importance of keeping an eternal perspective, such as the parable of the rich man who stored up things for himself, the parable of the hidden treasure in the field, and the parable of the ten virgins. All of the time whilst on earth Jesus was pointing people to the truth of eternity, eternal living, a life that will go on into eternity – because we are eternal beings. Jesus taught that we need to invest into what is going to last forever and it is plainly obvious that it is teaching that we cannot and must not ignore.
But to you and me, what does having an eternal perspective mean, what does it look like in our daily living? It means having a whole change of the way we view our lives and existence which then impacts on our actions, our thoughts and our decisions.
Up to the point of our salvation we are governed by a culture that teaches us that life is all about the here and now…it’s all about me and what I can get, what I can do to benefit me and what I can achieve to better my life. It’s a mind-set that is basically selfish and self-satisfying, a mind-set that focuses on the 60, 70, 80 or so years of expected living
However, having an eternal perspective looks like a person who has had a revelation that points them to what is lasting and to what is free from earthly distractions that now causes them to live differently. It looks like a person whose whole life is functioning on the principle of Matthew 6:19 onwards “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. What was Jesus saying to us? He was saying, don’t fall into the trap of viewing your life as just what happens in the number of years you may have on this earth, don’t make the focus of your life the things the world tells you are important, don’t put all of your time and energies into things which are going to pass away.
Let me ask, if you examine your life right now, what is the focus of your life? What are you putting your entire God given resources into? Are you striving, with all that you have and are to get that ultimate career move? Are you working every hour that God sends in order to buy that dream house or pay for that holiday you must have this year. Are you doing all that you can to prepare that nest egg for retirement? None of these are wrong in themselves but it’s the emphasis that’s wrong – it’s the laying up of treasure here on earth instead of in heaven.
So, you may wonder, what treasure can I lay up in heaven? What about investing some of your time into people’s lives – a conversation, phone call or a visit? What about investing your money into the Kingdom of God – giving to the poor? How about going on a mission’s trip with an intention to minister into people’s lives? How about getting involved in local mission?
Here’s a sobering question – ask yourself, is what I’m doing with my life right now going to bring reward or regret in the light of eternity?
So much of what I’m talking about is linked to the mind and to what is the focus of our minds. Your mind determines your attitudes and actions and if not renewed as the bible instructs, it will always focus on the temporal, with here and now and not with eternal.
The apostle Paul tells us to guard against our minds becoming comfortable with the world – Colossians 3: 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. He also said in Romans 12: 2 Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind… He was trying to highlight the importance of not becoming swallowed up in our thinking with the world’s attitudes and influence and accepted standards which are opposite to the standards of righteousness and holiness of God. We must be careful how much we allow the world to influence us lest it drags us into having just a temporal distorted view of life
Paul takes this same revelation to a higher level when he teaches that actually we should be living with a conscious perspective of ‘not even belonging’ to this world. He says in Hebrews 11: 13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. In Philippians 3: 20 he says, But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. Does this mean that I should live some weird nomadic existence, having no contact or involvement with ‘the world’? No of course not, Jesus said of his disciples, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.
Here’s a danger I want to bring to our attention – sometimes, it’s not that we’ve never had an eternal perspective by which we are living our lives but it’s that we lose the eternal perspective we once had – we didn’t mean to, but it just creeps in and before we know it our eyes, our vision, our purpose is back on the temporal. The enemy will always seek to get our eyes off the eternal in any way he can but we must constantly check our perspective. Here’s what can happen when we take our eyes off an eternal perspective: Psalm 73: 1-3 Asaph took his eyes off the Lord and put them instead on the wicked. He noticed the prosperity of the wicked and wondered if his devotion to the Lord was really worth it. He enters into a period of struggle with his faith and beliefs however the turning point comes in verse 17 “Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked. What happened? Maybe as he started worshiping it all changed, maybe a scripture reading or a sermon spoke to him; maybe it was an encouraging word from a friend. An eternal perspective is restored because he declares in verse 18-19 Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors.
Here’s an acid test to determine whether or not you are living with an eternal perspective: the bible clearly tells us that on any day, Jesus can and will return to this earth for his own people. How do you feel about the Lord’s return? Maybe your reaction might be: “I want him to return BUT…” After I’ve reached my ultimate career goal, after I’ve got married, after I’ve experienced all life has to offer or after I’ve got my dream home that I’ve been saving up for. What those reasons are actually saying is “I don’t want Jesus messing up my life…” The truth is when you are totally in love with someone; you want to be with them!!
So, in the cold light of self-examination, what is your perspective? 2 Corinthians 4: 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Are you focused on this world? Are you attached to it? Or do you have a sense of the fact that you’re only passing through this life and that you’re heading for an eternal home?
Your life is an investment. What are you investing in? What are you sowing your life into?