Investing in Things that Last

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“Everlast” is the leading manufacturer of boxing and fitness related sporting goods, equipment, apparel, footwear and accessories. In almost every boxing match you see, the contestants will be wearing “Everlast” gloves. Even in training, they will be punching an “Everlast” bag. Although I understand the intent of the label—their equipment, no matter how good, will really not last forever.

However, I guess I would rather have a product labeled “Everlast” than something called “Neverlast.” But even with a great label, you know that somewhere down the line, the best product will tear, rip open or wear out. It is inevitable. It is life. A thing will only last so long. No matter what its name, it will come to an end. And that is true of everything, right? Well, not everything. Some things that seem everlasting are not—while some things that seem short-lived are eternal.

When you look up at the sky on a clear night, you may think, that moon and those billion stars will last forever. If you consider “terra firma”—the solid earth beneath your feet—you think, nothing will remove that. You yourself may feel young, strong, great, fit, and indestructible. It may seem the world is at your command, but in all three cases, you would be wrong.

The Bible states: “Lift up your eyes to the sky, then look to the earth beneath; For the sky will vanish like smoke, and the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants will die in like manner; But My Salvation will be forever, and My righteousness will not wane” (Isaiah 51:6).

In the grand scheme of things, the sky that seems unending will come to an end. The earth that seems immovable will wear out. And the inhabitants that seem so strong will eventually die. But God says His salvation will be “forever” and His righteousness will not fade.

From the human standpoint, it is hard to imagine anything that is everlasting. Everything we see is passing, but the Bible says there are things, unseen by human eyes that are eternal, everlasting, that will never end. And, though we live in a temporal world, Christians are to focus on things eternal.

So, how can Christians focus their lives on eternal things? Paul tells us what is required in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:

It takes Persistence—to daily renew the eternal, inward, spiritual man. Paul wrote, “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day” (verse 16). The physical body is in process of decay, but the spirit within is renewed every day. This is why Christian men and women can be aged, ill, and weak physically, but strong warriors for Christ spiritually. Through Scripture, prayer, fellowship and service, they are being renewed daily.

It takes Perspective—to rightly evaluate affliction and hardship. Paul wrote, “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (verse 17). When God’s people endure suffering, pain, persecution or affliction, they need to focus, not on the pain or loss, but on the reward or gain that will result. If our perspective—the way we see things—is from God’s view, we will realize that affliction here equals glory there. We will see that afflictions here are temporary, while the results there are eternal. And with God’s perspective, we will see that the afflictions here that are light, will produce glory there that is heavy—“an eternal weight of glory.”

It takes Perception—to constantly focus your life on the eternal instead of the temporary. Paul wrote, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (verse 18). To live a fruitful life for Christ, you need to see the unseen—you need to aim at the eternal. Paul’s word for “look” in this verse is not the normal Greek word, “bleppo,” but the word “skopeo,” the origin of our word for “scope.” When a deer hunter puts a scope on his rifle, it is so that he can see the target better, and improve his aim. Paul said we need to aim at the eternal, not the temporal. We need to look at life with perception of the eternal.

If we persistently renew our spiritual side, and put our afflictions into perspective, and improve our perception of the eternal, how will that change us? What can we do that is eternal?

One—We can seek to give glory to God in all we do. His glory is eternal—it will not fade. Paul told Timothy: “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1Ti 1:17)

Two—We can spend time reading and studying God’s Word. “Forever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89). The Word of God is eternal.

Three—We can share the gospel with people. People are eternal beings who will each spend eternity in Heaven or Hell. John calls the message of Christ’s salvation, “the everlasting gospel” (Revelation 14:6). We need to see that people all around us need Jesus.

Four—We can serve the Lord with our gifts, to establish His kingdom. When we do that, the promise made by the apostle Peter will belong to you: “For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11). His Kingdom will never end!

Our time is short—eternity is long—and our contribution is limited—so do your best to invest in things that last!

Author: Larry E. Clements

Follower of Christ, fortunate to be husband to Pat, father of 5, grandfather of 12, writer, associate pastor of Pauline Baptist Church

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