Have you noticed that we’ve designed every stage of life to prepare us for the next stage of life?
For example, we spend our infant years learning to walk, talk, tie our own shoes, and go the bathroom on our own so that we can be ready to start school. Pre-school is first, getting your ready for kindergarten. After that, we spend our elementary years preparing for our middle school years. Then, we spend middle school preparing for high school. Next, high school is filled with college-prep classes that get us ready for college. In college, we prepare ourselves for joining the workforce. Once we have a job, we spend our days trading time for money so that we can have a place to live, raise a family, etc., but ultimately we are saving up and investing for our retirement. Then one day, when we finally retire, we realize those last few years are spent preparing to die.
Each and every step has the next step in mind and there is great wisdom in this, for sure! A problem arises when we begin to think this is all there is to life. Scripture continually reminds us in many different ways that our lives are “a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14) Our lives are mist, a vapor, which are part of greater story. Isn’t it foolish, then, for us to invest in the mist?
It’s arrogant of us to think and live with this indiviualistic view of life. It’s the same as if we entered into a theater mid-way through a play, jumped up on stage, and expected everyone to cater to what we had to say. We don’t even know what the play is about, but selfishly we act as if we are the main character and when our time is up we exit stage left with no interest in the rest of the play.
This is what happens when we try to write our own stories and neglect to realize our lives exist in the context of a grand story. My story didn’t begin on a cold night in Goshen, Indiana on October 3, 1980. That’s when I was born but it’s not when my story began. Your story didn’t begin on the day your were born either. The context for our lives is the story of God which stretches from eternity to eternity.
The idea that we live forever is a tough aspect to grasp. However, Jesus modeled for us a life with an eternal perspective. Everything he did during his 33-year long “mist” was spent preparing for an eternal exchange of glory with His Father. He lived an earthly life, a mere dot on the line of eternity, in the context of God’s story and with an eternal purpose.
If you believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then eternal life has already begun. It has started, and living for the line is now the context for your life. Rather than spending your life preparing for death, spend your life preparing for eternity. This perspective will shatter your paradigms, it will transform your desires and change how you invest your time and resources.
FUEL FOR THOUGHT…
How does someone who lives like their story began with their birth differ from someone who lives like their story began with, “In the beginning God…?”
How does living in the context of God’s story clash with your current worldview?