“LORD, make me to know my end, and to what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor” (Psalm 39:4-5, NKJV).
One of the greatest keys to success is to carry a long-term perspective rather than a short-term one. Often, poor decisions are the result of being too shortsighted in our vision. For instance, as a high school principal, I’ve spoken with students through the years who have chosen to drop out of high school because they are trying to resolve an immediate need or challenge. Maybe they don’t like doing homework or they want to work more hours at minimum wage job. Unfortunately, what they don’t recognize is that by solving their immediate need, they are severely limiting their long-term opportunities.
We can apply this principle to many aspects of life. How often do we see people make mistakes because their vision is too shortsighted? Perhaps you’ve seen someone turn to drugs to find a short-term escape only to end up with a long-term addiction. Maybe you’ve seen people enter unhealthy relationships because they felt lonely for a weekend.
Certainly, we can all benefit from considering the long-term impact of our actions. But today, I want to challenge you to think really long-term. I don’t just mean one year, five years, or even twenty years down the road, but let’s consider eternity. Truly, our time on earth is short, so we should focus on things that make an eternal difference.
First of all, living for eternity changes what we think. Sometimes, what we thought was so important becomes insignificant when viewed in the scope of eternity. Maybe we have to wait in line at the drive-through longer than we expected. Maybe somebody looks at us the wrong way. But why should we get upset about such little things when our whole life on earth is at best a vapor? Let’s not waste our precious time being stressed!
Living for eternity also changes what we speak. We shouldn’t waste our time complaining or criticizing. You see, we can use our words to bless or curse, to give life or bring death. The psalmist David committed, “I will guard my ways, lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, while the wicked are before me” (Psalm 39:1). Maybe we think we have a right to speak evil of someone or tell them off, but in the scope of eternity, does it really matter? Let’s use our words to bless, not curse.
Finally, living for eternity changes what we keep. It changes what we value. We can spend our lives gathering money and possessions, but when we die, we take nothing with us! The only thing that remains in the end is what we accomplish for eternity. Indeed, “we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
So, let’s spend our lives investing in what will last. Let’s share the love of Jesus! You may have heard the catchphrase, “live for the moment,” but I would challenge you to instead live for eternity!