“Better to have little, with godliness, than to be rich and dishonest.” – Proverbs 16:8.
It is all but impossible these days to get people to pay any attention to things that really matter. Cynics amongst us are likely to ask: “What really matters in the end?” The quest to answer the question of “what matters” has driven human history, and inspired philosophers to probe the meaning of life. No one can avoid this question, and all of us develop our specific idea of what matters. But what many people think really matters doesn’t. The degree of fame that we achieve does not matter. Our level of intelligence is not what is most significant. The position to which we rise on the corporate ladder is not of ultimate importance. Nor does our wealth and possessions ultimately matter. It will all be meaningless. What really matters is our relationship with God.
Isaiah talked about this coming reality when he said: “The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind” (Isaiah 65:17). Can you even imagine not being able to recall anything of your life while you existed on earth? Well that’s exactly what this verse is saying. The former things will not be remembered or even come to mind.
This verse can put things in perspective in a hurry. It prompts us to confront the out-of-whack, craziness of our lives, and get back to what really matters. It is also a sobering reminder of just how temporary this whole thing called life really is. The Bible reminds me of that fact in James 4:14: “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog–it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.”
We came into this world with nothing and we will leave the same way. So what really matters? The simple answer is that Jesus matters. Nothing that we make on earth is sure to last, except for its effect on advancing Jesus’s gospel and His church. In this sense, it’s true that “only what’s done for Christ will last.”
So what are you pouring your life into making? When it’s over, what will you leave behind that will really last? Is it more or is it less in God’s eyes. 2 Corinthians 4:18 tells us, “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” We need to stop focusing on what will pass away and focus our lives on what will have eternal significance. So make your priorities the priorities of God. For in the end, that will be the only thing that truly matters.
- If someone was examining your life, what would they say really matters to you? How would they know?
- When you think about your life, what is your greatest concern—the way people see you, your financial situation, or your future? Explain.
- As you consider your life, what area(s) do you need to have a more external perspective?