How do we get ready to live in eternity?
Luke 12:16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.
17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’
18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.
19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ‘
20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Putting this into modern day terms, we could be talking about being richly blessed financially and using it to put everything we can into a savings account with the view of having a good life later on.
Don’t get me wrong. God is not saying, ‘Don’t have any money’.
This has more to do with motivation, priorities and vision.
It’s a heart issue –
Mat 6:19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
1 Cor 3:12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.
14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.
15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
The next verse also lays the foundation for what we are talking about today. Our life is like a race, and we should give attention to how we are running it. Run with the prize in mind.
1Co 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
Should Christians be looking for rewards? Isn’t that selfish?
Let’s starting valuing what God puts value on. After all, he is the one that speaks of eternal rewards as something to aspire to. He is the One who offers these rewards.
Luk 6:22 Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man’s sake.
23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.
You might not think that we should be too bothered about significance.
But you might see it from another standpoint when you look at the other side of it.
Definition – ‘meaning or value’
It comes from signify –’ to stand for something, to show something – to be a sign or indication of‘
Antonyms: ‘insignificance, meaninglessness, triviality, unimportance’
God says we are more valuable than many sparrows, than the flowers of the field etc. There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel you are living a valuable, meaningful life – that when you leave this world, you know that you have influenced this world in some way or other, for good.
A successful life versus a significant life.
We are not talking about a successful life, but a significant one.
Successful life – ‘generally one that is promoting self – financial success, notoriety, status, power, etc.’
Significant life – ‘has the value of others at heart’
When you are seeking after significance, you invest your time in things that contribute to the well-being and advancement of others. Generousity, kindness, love, etc., and ideas that promote these concepts becomes the things that matter most.
To be significant, we feel we must be contributing something to the greater good.
- Do we take the time to discover what truly matters to us in the long run? How are we helping others along the way? Do we care about the well-being of others and helping them to live a fuller life?
Mid life crisis is not just for non-Christians.
Most of us will reach a point in life when we start to see things from a different perspective
- What does our life mean?
- Have I made the most with what I have?
- What is the significance of my existence?
14 “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them.
15 “To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.
He gave to each according to his or her ability – that’s an interesting point.
He has given us as much as we are able to use.
He expects an increase on what He has given us. Remember – we’re talking about the kingdom of heaven here.
The kingdom is about multiplication – getting a return on your investment.
It’s about sowing and reaping, also about expectancy (remember the ten virgins?), watching, waiting and being ready to meet Him.
Matthew 25:21 – Well done, good and faithful servant
There is an implication of our faithfulness to His purposes being tested – a day of accounting – which will determine how we spend eternity. It is not selfish to plan for eternity – God expects us to!
So what about the servant who stuck it in the ground?
He was judged to be wicked and lazy
Now, he still had the original talent, but no increase. This was not considered good enough.
If we are not good stewards, what we have might even be taken from us.
If we were to just live day to day in crisis management type of living, then why did Jesus bother about the fact that they had just stuck the talent in the ground, not even in the bank to get a return on the investment – the fact is, it is ‘normal’ for us humans to ‘want’ significance, no matter what that might mean to each of us.
In fact, God was looking for significance, or value in what they had done while He was gone.
Investment opportunities are now!
The time for investing is NOW. And you don’t have to be financially rich to do it.
Bruce Wilkinson says, “ Every day is a new opportunity to discover what eternal business might be lurking in the ordinary business of being human.”
Teach us to number our days Lord, that we can use them wisely.
Eph 5:15 So then, be very careful how you live. Don’t live like foolish people but like wise people.
16 Make the most of your opportunities because these are evil days.
17 So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord wants.
You have a scheduled, personal appointment with Jesus
2 Cor 5:6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord
7 for we walk by faith, not by sight
8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad
This verse that Paul wrote to Timothy at the end of his life always makes my heart swell.
2Ti 4:5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry.
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race.’
Can we say that at the end of our days?
I hope so.