“To be swelled with Pride, to be fattened with Sensuality, to grow great through Craft, and load ourselves with earthly Goods, is only living the Life of Beasts, that we may die the Death of Devils. On the other hand, to go starved out of this World, rich in nothing but heavenly Tempers and Desires, is taking from “Time” all that we came for, and all that can go with us into Eternity.”
“O Man I consider thyself, here thou standest in the earnest, perpetual Strife of Good and Evil, all Nature is continually at work to bring about the great Redemption; the whole Creation is travailing in Pain, and laborious Working, to be delivered from the Vanity of Time, and will thou be asleep? Everything thou hearest, or seest, says nothing, shows nothing to Thee, but what either eternal Light, or eternal Darkness hath brought forth; for as Day and Night divide the whole of our Time, so Heaven and Hell divide the whole of our Thoughts, Words and Actions. Stir which way thou wilt, do, or design what thou wilt, thou must be an Agent with the one or with the other. Thou canst not stand still, because thou livest in the perpetual Workings of temporal and eternal Nature; if thou workest not with the Good, the Evil that is in Nature carries thee along with it: Thou hast the Height and Depth of Eternity in Thee, and therefore be doing what thou wilt, either in the Closet, the Field, the Shop, or the Church, thou art sowing That which grows, and must be reaped in Eternity. Nothing of thine can vanish away, but every Thought, Motion and Desire of thy Heart, has its Effect either in the Height of Heaven, or the Depth of Hell: And as Time is upon the WIng, to put an End to the Strife of Good and Evil, and bring about the last great Separation of all Things into their Eternal State, with such Speed art Thou making Haste either to be wholly an Angel, or wholly a Devil: O! therefore awake, watch and pray, and join with all thy Force with that Goodness of God, which has created Time and all Things in it, to have a happy End in Eternity.”
“Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” (James 4:14)
I’ve been thinking about how short life is. Usually it’s only when someone dies that we start to think about our immortality but for some reason it’s been on my mind lately even without a funeral.
It’s a good thing to be aware of life’s brevity otherwise we start to take it for granted. When we live our lives as if we are going to live forever we inevitably will get caught up in things that won’t matter in the long haul. You know the saying, “Life’s too short to live it angry at others.” There’s another phrase I’ve heard when tempted to get rattled over something. “Is this going to matter in a year from now?” I’ve come to the conclusion most of what we get frazzled over won’t matter even later today much less a year from now. Sometimes we just need to stop and get an eternal perspective on things.
In some ways time may seem like a trap. I mean there is no way to escape its confines. We’re always trying to get somewhere on time and its frustrating if we’re late. Movies start at a certain time, doctors require you to make appointments, courts start at a scheduled time, you need to get to work on time and on and on it goes. No matter what we do time is going to keep moving forward and eventually for each of us it will run out. The Rolling Stones sing a song called “Time is on my side.” In reality that simply isn’t true at all. In fact it seems to be against us most of the time. So we must learn to use it wisely.
The Apostle Paul told us “Be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” The older I get the more I think about what I spend my time doing. Ultimately one day we’re not going to be in the realm of time. One day this body of ours will die and as the song says, “Time for me will be no more.” In the meantime what is it that we do with the time we’ve got?
Jesus told us to “Store up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal…” The disciples couldn’t understand Jesus most of the time because he was focused on the eternal rather than the temporal. He saw things from the correct perspective rather than then through a glass darkly, eyesight his disciples had. He seemed to constantly challenge them by refocusing their attention from the decaying temporary realm to the everlasting. From the mind set on the earthly what he said seemed to be foolish but for those with ears to hear they are the words of life.
In a sense part of Jesus’ mission on earth was to open our eyes to an eternal perspective. We, that have been born again, now have a leg up on what’s to come. It’s sort of like preparing to move to a different country. It may be a good idea to learn a little about the language, customs and laws of the land you’re moving to before you go. Paul said, “Our citizenship is in heaven…” One day we’re going to move from this earthly, time-based, existence into a timeless one. Jesus said for us to store up treasures in heaven. The only way to do that is to invest in people and helping them to get ready for the move.