The reality of an eternal life has had a significant impact on me, and played a major role in leading me to Christ. I found that I had always believed in heaven and hell, but I had never drawn the implications that I will one day be a permanent resident of one or the other. The Bible is solidly equipped with an eternal perspective that runs through every page. Today we pause to consider what life will be like in heaven. What will we see, hear, smell, feel, and do for all of eternity? What does it mean to live forever, and what will the quality of our lives be like there? Does the notion of spending eternity in heaven with God affect the way I live today? Should it?
Early in my relationship with God I awoke to the realization that there is a real heaven and a real hell, and that I will one day be a permanent resident of one or the other. I didn’t know much about hell, but I knew enough to know that I didn’t want to go there. The more I study the subject as a Christian, the more humbled and grateful I become knowing that I will not spend a moment there. Can you say that for yourself? Can you say that for your loved ones? Since hell is our default destination, I’m convinced that hell’s ultimate population will exceed heaven’s population. Eternal fire, eternal darkness, eternal pain, eternal separation from God, eternal loneliness, eternal weeping, eternal anger. Worship God for His justice. Worship Him for saving you from what you deserve. Pray that God would rescue those who don’t know Christ as Savior.
If everyone lives forever, there seems to be no decision more significant than trusting Jesus Christ as one’s Savior. Doing so moves one from the land of the dead to the land of the living, and eternal life in heaven with God awaits those saved by grace through faith in Jesus. After we embrace his life given for us, we begin to live our lives for him. And we begin to invest in two things that last forever: God’s Word and people’s souls. We invest in the lives of believers through discipleship, encouragement, confrontation, serving, etc. We invest in unbelievers with the Gospel, knowing that nothing else we do for them will have an eternal effect. What did you do for people today that will have an eternal impact? What are your plans for tomorrow?
We don’t often connect the dots between this life and the next. What is the relationship, after all? Is there a relationship? Most of what I’m reading in Christian and secular circles says that life is short and we should squeeze every ounce of fun, happiness, and experience out of it. The implication is that either this is all there is, or that in the next life we start with a clean slate. But that’s simply not true. We do not start with a clean slate in the next life. Our eternal quality of life is contingent on this life. That means that our decisions and words in this life directly affect our eternal status. Will you be great in heaven, or least? Are you daily investing in eternity so as to earn rewards to enjoy forever, or are you merely living for the temporary earthly rewards that you can see?
Investments are important to us. We give serious consideration to anything that would call for a financial investment. We each realize that our resources are limited and to say “yes” to one investment means we must say “no” to many others. And we want to invest in the option that has the highest potential return to us personally. Often a professional investment advisor can help steer us in the right direction. In today’s passage, the Bible offers some sound investment advice from an unlikely source: An unemployed, homeless man who depended largely on others for his meals and lodging. He also happens to be the Son of God. You may be surprised to hear what Jesus teaches about investing our money—and how it relates to eternity.