Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
For some reason, I seem to come around to a lot of math when I think about my faith. Can’t say why that is because math wasn’t something I was really good at when I was in school. Anyway, yesterday I got to thinking about eternity on my way home from work and how long that is. I didn’t have to think very long before I heard an exchange between my granny and I from years gone by. She would tell me to do something, and me, being the kid I was, would answer her back, “Granny, that will take forever for me to do.” “Son,” she would patiently answer me, “forever is a long time.” How true that is. And somehow, I always got done what she asked me and it didn’t take “forever.”
So, my point in all this boiled down to a way of looking at life. Let us say I was a man that was extremely rich. Let us say that I made you an offer that went something like this:
I’ll give you 1 billion dollars, a house like nothing you could ever imagine and the ability to travel anywhere you want to with one catch. The catch is that you have to live on a deserted island and you will start with nothing. You have no shelter, no food, no water, just the clothes on your back. You have to survive on this island for 1 year. If you do that, I’ll give you the reward.
Now, how many of you would take that challenge. Talk about the ultimate “Survivor” show. I bet you people would line up for days to take a shot at doing this. A billion dollars is a mighty big motivator, don’t you think? I personally hate coconuts, but I think I could learn to like them for a payout like that.
So, how does all this relate to eternity and the scripture I started with above? Here is where the math comes in. According to Answers.com, the average life span worldwide is a little over 66 years. This statistic is from 1998 so it’s a bit old, but we can use it for my illustration. One year consists of 365.2422 days. So, if a person lived 66 years, they would encounter 24,106 days in their lifetime (I rounded up).
How does 24,106 days compare to eternity? Lets set it up like this: 1 year of eternity equals 1 day of your life of 66 years here on earth. At the end of 24,106 years in eternity, it would equal your entire lifetime of days here on earth. But, eternity goes on. At the end of 48,212 years in eternity, using the same formula, those years would equal 2 lifetimes of days here on earth. I could carry the math out quite a bit, but I think this makes my point. Compared to eternity, our span on this earth is pretty short.
The problem is, we don’t think that way. We say that someone who has lived 100 years has lived to a ripe old age. I submit that in the grand scheme of things, they are literally a baby. Is it any wonder that the passage of scripture above says our life is just a mist. Our physical life is kind of like when you exhale into cold air. You see it for a moment and then it just disappears.
So, let us go back to my illustration about the contest to win 1 billion dollars. People don’t want to give up their lives to God in this life because it costs too much. Many would give up a year for a billion dollars, but not many will give up an earthly lifetime for an eternity of the greatest joy, happiness and love that you can ever imagine; actually, if God is infinite, His love, joy, and happiness are infinite, so we really can’t imagine it. But why is it that we won’t give up a small amount of time in this life to enjoy eternity? Why are we so shortsighted and only look at today and what we can get out of it. John says it in his gospel:
When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,
“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.”
Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him.
Here Jesus was doing things that nobody had ever seen before. He was raising the dead, causing blind eyes to see, causing sickness to be healed, and nowhere in Scripture does anybody ever prove that Jesus didn’t do that. Well, you might say, the Scripture was written by people who liked and followed Jesus. Yes, that is true. But look at the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. Both books were written by someone who did his homework and was not refuted in his day. Now, in his day means when it actually happened. Luke talked to eyewitnesses, people who had been there and seen with their own eyes what actually happened. How in the world can we refute him today when we were not there and have no eyewitness testimony to go on? Yet many of you believe the bible is untrue because someone just said it was. Yet, Jesus is still doing miracles and signs and wonders today. Yes, there is a lot of falseness about the Gospel, but if one will take the time to look a little deeper than just the surface, if one will take the time to find out for themselves, God will honor that and reveal Himself to you. He is not a calloused God who wants nothing to do with you. He desperately wants to touch and change your life because he knows what is in store, for eternity mind you, for those who reject Him.
Please, if you have questions, send me an email, post something here on my blog, get a bible out and begin reading it for yourself (start in the Gospel of John), but most importantly, just get down on your knees (figuratively) and with transparent sincerity, just ask God to open the shades that are on your eyes. I believe that any open and honest inquiry of God will not go unanswered. He longs to spend eternity with you.
God, in His son Jesus, died so that you don’t have to spend eternity apart from Him. He stands at the door and knocks and how many times have you heard that knock in a moment of fear, or disaster in your life. All you have to do is open the door. It really is that simple, not easy, but simple. Once you open that door up to Him, a whole new life begins; A life of the hardest joy (now there is an oxymoron for you) that you will ever know. Just call on him soon because you don’t know when that breath on the cold winter morning will fade away and be gone forever. Once this life is over, the choices you have made determine your eternity.