There is nothing that can arise in this life so great as to compare to the glory that awaits us at Christ’s glorious coming. There is nothing so horrible that can happen in this life that will not be forgotten in an instant of time when we see Jesus Christ face to face. Nothing that goes on in this life, whether good or bad, is worthy to be compared to the eternal weight of glory that constitutes our hope.
I believe the epistles of Paul, Peter, Jude and John present a picture of our hope which not only gives us comfort during difficult times but great strength during times of stress, great encouragement during times of duress and great joy at all times. I believe that if all we have to live for is this life only, we of all people are most to be pitied.
When Paul could not endure any more hardship, God caught him away and showed him what is coming after Christ returns. Whatever Paul saw, provided him with the strength and focus to endure everything that arose the rest of his ministry. Paul lived and breathed not only to share the Gospel now, but with the burning hope that Christ would return any minute.
It is obvious that those who participated in the First Century church, lived each day with the burning realization the trumpet could indeed sound any minute and they would leave this life to spend an eternity with God. It was this firm conviction which allowed men and women to totally commit themselves to serving Christ in this life with no interest in accumulating earthy treasures or so afraid of death they could not live.
So much of our current society is built on either extending life a few extra years or finding that elusive fountain of youth that eliminates the aging process and keeps us looking and feeling like a teenager when we are 85 years old. Most of the products advertised in various media all promise to make one feel or look younger. With all the emphasis on this life and none on the future, of course there will be little emphasis placed on the spiritual side of things.
Solomon spoke extensively of vanity. When the emphasis of life is only what is best for “me”; that is vanity. When all of life’s endeavors are for self gain; that is vanity. When every dream and detail in life revolves around “me”; that is vanity. When there is nothing any greater to live for than this life; that is vanity.
We all really need to look in the mirror and think about WHY we are so hung up on this body of ours. Why do we spend so much time, energy and money trying to transform this flesh into a shining temple? Paul said these bodies we live in are earthly tabernacles that will be discarded when Christ returns. Of course we should seek to take care of ourselves but not because of vanity.
The day is fast approaching when the Lord Jesus will call us home, either through death or His return. In light of this, what is our purpose in living? What is our reason for what we do? What is the great aim of our heart and motive for what we live for? Is our time, energy and money really ours to hoard and spend only on ourselves? Is not all that we have in this life a gift from God to share with others?
I urge us all to spend a little time thinking about how we live and what we live for. It never hurts to make sure we have not fallen into the bottomless pit of vanity and the self serving pursuit of happiness. We have life because God gave it to us and that life is a gift to be shared with others in light of our short stay as sojourners in this life.