I have been thinking about death lately. Not least, with the death of my friend, who was living with terminal cancer for many years and has since passed into glory. What does it actually mean to live in light of eternity?
For many, the answer is very simple. It means giving away all our stuff. You can’t take it with you, so may as well give it to those who can use it after you’ve gone. Certainly there is no value in hoarding stuff if you know you are going to die tomorrow. But is that really the essence of what it means to live in light of eternity?
For others, if you knew you were going to die next year, as a believer in the Lord Jesus, it would light a fire to get about the business of sharing the gospel. What better way to prepare for glory and to focus the mind than to get about telling people how they can have certainty and security in the face of death? For many, living in light of eternity simply means doing all that we can to share the gospel.
Now, don’t get me wrong here. If we are living in light of eternity, of course that will include telling people the gospel. Not least because it is specific command of the Lord Jesus Christ. A vital command at that. Jesus wants us to tell people the gospel and, if we know we have limited time, what better thing to do? It is without doubt included. It may also come with a side order of giving all our stuff away to be used by those who will outlive us. Nothing wrong with doing that either, indeed, much to commend it. But I don’t think this is the essence of what being with the Lord Jesus should do for us.
I would have thought that knowing we are going to be with the Lord Jesus would lead us to more firmly and tightly hold onto his love us and our subsequent love for him. It would lead us to remember the reason why he created us, to know him and glorify him and enjoy him forever. It would lead us to express our love for him by diligently seeking to do his commands. After all, Jesus said ‘if you love me, you will keep my commandments’.
So, what does it mean to live in light of eternity? It means focusing more clearly on the Lord Jesus we profess to love and giving our all to serving him in whatever way we can, glorifying him as fully as we are able with the time we have available to us. Which – whilst no doubt including a greater desire to share the gospel and evangelise the world – is much greater than that alone. It should cause us to press into all the commands of Christ. To be at his service, speaking of his excellencies, and evidencing his excellency by enjoying his good gifts to the full. It may well lead to evangelism but also discipleship, loving our family well, serving in our churches, helping the poor and fully enjoying all God’s good gifts and glorifying him for them.
In other words, living in light of eternity means living specifically for the saviour who has bought us with his own blood and in line with the ultimate purpose for which he saved us; namely, to glorify him and enjoy him forever.