Our lives are short.James says our lives are just a mist that appear for a little while and then vanish. The Psalmist says "the span of my years are nothing before You."
If we live for such a short time in the big picture of the Kingdom of God then what should we be spending this little amount of time doing?
Jesus after discussing how to live in a way that is pleasing to God and not hypocritical He says, "Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth where rust and moth destroy, but rather store up treasures in heaven." I've always found it interesting that Jesus hadn't been talking about money at all, He'd been talking about actions, and yet we always use this verse dealing with money. Jesus was saying, your actions will either give you rewards or earth or rewards in heaven. He had just said of the pharisees and sadducees that they receive praise from man and "they have their reward."
The actions and decisions I make on a daily basis have the ability and opportunity to earn rewards in heaven. So why, when life is so short, do we work so hard for treasure and reward that is on earth?
Jesus gave some clear examples of that about giving to the needy for people to see, praying outloud for people to hear, and that's when He said they have received their reward in the form of praise for men, which is exactly what they were aiming for. I don't want to get to heaven and God say, well, you get to come, welcome in, but you worked for reward on earth and you got your reward on earth.... ouch.
We can live life with an eternal perspective. Is the decision I'm making working for attention from man? for praise from man? for reward from man? Am I working and working to money in my retirement plan when my brother right next to me is in need?
We were made with five senses and often we strive to please these senses. We work for the money we can feel in our hands, we work things to receive the praise we hear from men, we focus and are consumed on receiving the pleasures of touch (yes I mean we're sex driven), are bellies determine so many decisions we make for the taste of that which isn't beneficial, and yet we so forget that the decisions we make now greatly affect our long term home that is often forgotten because we haven't seen it yet. As we sow into this Kingdom with our words, actions, money, etc. we don't always see what we're producing for our lives in our eternal homes. We don't see the bank account growing, the pleasure isn't always felt, and our senses based flesh struggles to find the purpose in it.
I often think about John and James' question to Jesus. "Grant that we should sit on your right and your left in your glory." There's a lot to discuss in this chapter but I'm always intrigued by Jesus response which is basically if you want to be great in My Kingdom, you must be a servant now. He also says at other times if you want to be first, then you have to be last. Jesus is giving an eternal perspective to His followers. It's not about what you can get now, this life is short, it's passing, it's not worth spending your life working for titles, money, rewards, praise, that just will die with this life. Spend your life realizing that what you do now effects your eternity.
I've told friends before, let's be servants and slaves to all now, so that we can be honored in eternity. I'd rather be last every day of this life, so that I can be first in eternity. I'd rather sit at the end of the table now, so that in eternity I can sit up front right near Jesus.
What are we working for and where are you reaping your rewards?
Be Blessed, J. Tate