Invest in the Future

It seemed set in stone. Any family celebration that took place in my family took place at Mom’s house. For 50 years she directed every facet of every event, decided the menus, and prepared the meals. She assigned tasks and directed their execution, even telling people where to sit at the table.

Then one day, something changed. Another generation took over. Mom lost her position and was placed on the sidelines. Family events now take place at someone else’s house. And now someone else plans the meals and tells her where to sit.

King Solomon said, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity. One generation passes away, and another generation comes” (Eccl. 1:2, 4).

Life’s reality can be extremely harsh. But joy, peace, and satisfaction can always fill our lives, providing we place our focus where it belongs.

When the apostle Paul wrote his second letter to the church at Corinth, his health was declining. His body was aging, and persecution had taken its toll. He could say from experience, “Our outward man is perishing” (2 Cor. 4:16).

But he knew life was temporary and that, compared to eternity, affliction is “but for a moment” (v. 17). So he did not focus on temporary things but on serving Jesus Christ.

No doubt Paul took to heart Jesus’ words, “Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?” (Lk. 9:24–25).

As a result, Paul was willing to “spend himself” for the work of the Messiah and the blessings of life everlasting. He invested in the future reality of eternity, which does not pass away. And his desire was for the church at Corinth, and for us, to do the same.

A 50-year-old pastor in New Jersey understands the reality of outward things perishing and the truth of the Scripture that says, “The things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). He has been diagnosed with tongue cancer. After much prayer, he has elected to preach as long as he is able rather than have his tongue removed as the doctors have recommended.

A familiar refrain from an unknown poet reads, “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.” How much better it is to invest in the future by seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness than to live for the world and one day discover that we have accomplished nothing for God.

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