Summary: Here is not our ultimate home. Keep eternity, our longterm home, before you.
Forward to Eternity
Purpose Driven Life #4
August 23, 2003
The new cars and trucks are coming out. This is the time of year when the models for the next year are being rolled out, and this is the time of year that people who purchased or leased a new vehicle this year begin to feel unhappy with that vehicle. It doesn’t look the same as the new ones, or is lacking some of the features of the new ones, or isn’t in the most up-to-date colour that is available in the new ones. For some people, their lovely newer vehicle has become, essentially, obsolete because something newer is available. Of course, as they go forward another year or two with the ‘older’ vehicle, it starts to break down and repair and replacement of some of the major systems are necessary as the vehicle does break down. Eventually, that lovely new vehicle will end up in the scrap yard, because it was never made to last forever- it had a certain built-in obsolescence.
Think about all you use that has a very temporary life. In our homes, we have disposable razors, disposable pens, creams and gel and shaving lotion in disposable containers, styrofoam cups and paper plates, and the list goes on. We are used to thinking in terms of using something for only a short time, and then it becomes obsolete.
People think of themselves in the same way, oftentimes. We all know that we’re only here for a limited amount of time and, unless you have some idea of something beyond, this seems like all there is. If this is all there is, then we, like the paper plate, become something disposable and something soon to become obsolete. This feeling shows up, often, in the lives of teens, sadly. They, these days, are much caught up in the cycle of divorce that wracks so many homes, and lack of love from parents, which is much too common. They feel disposable, as they get shunted from one parental home to another, and as they feel so powerless in the processes of their lives. This leads to some of the early sexual experimentation, drug usage, alcohol use at young age, and smoking. Many young feel that life is short and they are only being used up in their lives, so they might as well use life in ways that helps them feel good, even for a short time. They feel like they are disposable.
However, this life is not all there is. There is a great eternity that you have been formed for. People, actually, intuitively, know this. Why do people want to go on living? Why do we have an incredible quest to extend our lives? We know that, in our lifetimes, the average expected life has been extended by several years because of medical research and care. Why is there such a field as ‘cryonics’ and why have some taken advantage of what it offers (read)? There is a great desire for self-preservation that is built into us.
Eccl. 3.11- God has planted eternity in our hearts. We have been made in God’s image, remember? And one of the ways we are ‘in his image’ is in the fact that we are meant to live forever.
However, this is not the place where we are to live forever, and this is what too many miss as they try to live on, in this flesh. The days of Methuselah, who lived 969 years, are behind us, and, if you read Genesis, you’ll recognize that life spans shortened rather dramatically after the Flood. So, now, we’re down to an average male life span of 74 and 79 for a woman, which is, as we know, more than the case just a few years ago.
The apostle Paul understood something very important, that he records in his letter to the Corinthian church.
2 Cor. 5.2- he speaks of two bodies (Living Bible), of tents and houses (KJV). The Bible calls our bodies ‘tents’- they’re temporary. We might go camping and use a tent, but we don’t to use it permanently, as where we live. Some civilizations use tents because they are nomadic. Tent never implies permanence, and we’re meant to understand this. We ARE impermanent, here. But that does not mean that we’re impermanent everywhere. We have a house to come. We enjoy living in a house- a house offers a sense of permanence, even here. When we moved here and purchased our house, several of you expressed your delight in that, in that it said that we were planning to stay awhile. Someone asked me if I’d purchase my burial plot here- I haven’t done that, yet.
Life, here, offers many choices, but eternity offers us two, as far as where we want to be forever. The ‘forever’ is not in question. That’s part of God’s plan for all. And He wants us all to be in His heavenly kingdom, but we can choose, also, hell/lake of fire. Our relationship to God will determine where we are and since we’ve been given the choice now, what we do with that now is what matters for all eternity! C.S. Lewis, on of this century’s greatest Christian authors, said, “There are tow kinds of people: those who say to God ‘Thy will be done’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right then, have it your way.’” It is God’s wish that no one would have to spend eternity without Him, but some will.