YOUR LONG-RANGE GOAL GIVES PERSPECTIVE TO LIFE
The day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up (2 Peter 3:10).
I was reading this verse one time while preparing for an overseas trip. At the time, I was a partner in a chain of eight large restaurants. I visited them all before leaving, which was a long, tiring chore.
The thought occurred to me then that it doesn’t make sense to put your heart into something that eventually will be destroyed. I could picture all eight of those restaurants going up in smoke. No wonder riches don’t satisfy. We all sense, at least vaguely, that things are temporary.
A few years ago, I was a partner in an apartment house project. At the time we had the roof on and the doors and windows were installed in a three-story building containing twelve apartment units.
That night, a strong wind blew down that building. As I studied the wreckage, it was as though an audible voice was telling me not to put my hopes in buildings. They are a puff of wind…or an earth tremor…or a touch of fire away from being destroyed.
Why should things like this happen? Perhaps to tell us to review our goals. Jesus said:
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:19-21).
What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? (Mark 8:36).
Granted, everyone must make a living. In the process, we acquire wealth. If we follow the laws of economics carefully, we can acquire great wealth in the same amount of time that someone else barely ekes out a living. The futility of it is not the possession of wealth; it’s putting our whole heart and soul into something that will eventually be destroyed.
What, then, is important? The Bible says:
Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness? (2 Peter 3:11).
A SHORT-RANGE GOAL
What sort of person ought we to be? When we meet Jesus, we will be evaluated on the basis of our “deeds done in the body, according to what you have done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Everyone must live out life every day. How should we conduct ourselves in the process? Look at some Bible verses:
Not every one who says to Me, ”Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven (Matthew 7:21).
If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself (John 7:17).
Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you (Matthew 6:33).
For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved of men (Romans 14:17-18).
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8).
Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood, and has not sworn deceitfully (Psalm 24:3-4).
What credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously (1 Peter 2:20-23).
The Creator of the universe is interested in what manner of person we are. These are the qualities important to Him as we go about our daily tasks:
- righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit
- walking humbly with God
- clean hands
- a pure heart
- being able to take mistreatment patiently.
Looking at life from God’s viewpoint, these verses make sense:
Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23).
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Psalm 51:10).