“Remember the earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to taunts and afflictions, and at other times you were companions of those who were treated that way. For you sympathized with the prisoners and accepted with joy the confiscation of your possessions, knowing that you yourselves have a better and enduring possession. So don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. But My righteous one will live by faith; and if he draws back, I have no pleasure in him. But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and obtain life.” Hebrews 10:32-39
When you have a moment, read Psalm 50. In this psalm, God recognizes that the Israelites are properly offering the sacrifices God himself had required in the law. Yet He says that He doesn’t need these sacrifices. What God wants most of all from His people is not proper religious activity, but faithfulness and obedience: “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me, to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” (Psalm 50:23).
This Psalm touches on the subject of just doing things and doing things that really matter.
Thankfully, the Bible gives us many clear statements on what priorities to set for our life. There are hundreds of such statements in the Bible, but they all boil down to one thing: make eternal things your priority. The television shows we watch won’t last. The education we acquire will not endure. All our trophies will rust and fade away. The Mustang we bought will eventually be used as scrap. Our 401 (k) or our 4k TV won’t last. Even the successful company that we built with our hands will fade over time.
The only things that matter are those that have eternal significance. Getting your name in the history books doesn’t matter if your name is not in the Book of Life. The rewards of wealth on earth won’t matter if you lose all rewards in Heaven.
Jesus said, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36). Jesus also said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33). What does He say your priority should be? To seek first the kingdom of God. To live with eternity in mind. The Apostle Paul says that same thing in his letters. For example, in Colossians 3:2, he writes, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
So we should be focused on what matters. And what matters is what will last for eternity.
- This life is not our destination; it is a preparation for eternity. Agree or disagree?
- Give examples of how our culture encourages a focus on the here and now.
- Read Romans 8:18-25: What are some of the elements that define the here and now according to this passage?
- How much does your belief in eternity shape the way you live and respond to life? What areas of your life do you tend to treat as if this is all there is?