It has become a deeply held personal conviction of mine that most of the money, energy, time and passion that we expend in pursuing what we think will fulfill us or otherwise make us “happy” is actually wasted. Not because the reaching of our goals will not, for a season, give us a sense of satisfaction or that every such goal is a bad thing in and of itself, but because our have entirely missed the point of our existence will eventually culminate in our eternal existence either one way or another.
It is not enough that the path we trod was a pleasant one. Or that it had wonderful views. Or even amazing experiences along the way. It is absolutely certain that we will all one day reach a destination of some sort, a destination determined by the path we have chosen and it will make no difference to us at all when we reach that point if we’ve had a good time getting there.
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:14-15 ESV).
Consider well how that, according to the Bible, there are only two eternities possible for you and me. One is with God for Whom and in Whose image we were made. The other is apart from Him… a sure destination if we do not enter the only “gate” to His favor and presence, which is the Son He sent for you and for me.
“Jesus again said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly…. Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 10:7-10; John 14:6 ESV).
I would caution us all, therefore, to not waste our days. To prepare for eternity is the wisest priority we can undertake in this life. It will prove to be the greatest investment of our time, energy and resources, even if and when it results in a temporary suffering here and now. I fear that too few of us see the truth of this and are consequently forfeiting in eternity the only real treasure there is. To pour ourselves into knowing God through Christ and to help others also see the hope that Jesus is – the only hope, in fact – is the highest calling, the most satisfying purpose, and the greatest experience any of us can know. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18 ESV).
Furthermore, not only is Jesus a treasure we will enjoy in the ages to come, but by God’s Spirit, we can begin to savor His precious worth in this age as well. And just think! It is no loss when we endure a hardship or suffer rejection for His sake. “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8 ESV).
If you are a Christian, do not let your priorities get turned upside down, forgetting the vast mercies and grace that God has shown you in His Son, Jesus Christ. Do not become distracted from your calling to walk with Jesus by the hollow promises of temporary pleasures or misplaced priorities. Do not become dissuaded to follow Christ by the fake glamour of worldly treasures or misrepresented pleasures. Stay focused on your great love, the One Who has loved You to the cross, to the grave, and on… to eternal life.
If you have not yet personally received by faith the gift of God, which is eternal life, then do not waste the opportunity right now to repent of your own path, and surrender your will to His. You can trust that the God Who loved you so sacrificially will also work out in your life what you need most. There is no better day than today to receive that gift. There is no better time than now to turn to Him and ask Him to forgive your sin and to be your Lord. In doing so, you trade the small bits of broken glass that this world offers for the priceless diamonds of Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 23 ½ years, is the author of The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com”. Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at [email protected]).