The older I get, the more I understand Paul’s words “our outer man is decaying …” I certainly feel that way. As my health gradually decreases, I have much less capacity to do what I’d like to do.
But I also better understand “our inner man is being renewed day by day.” I find myself clinging more and more tightly to my Lord. I more eagerly await eternity with Him in heaven. I better understand how today’s “light affliction” is for God’s glory as I’m able to show true compassion to those who are hurting.
And I absolutely understand temporary versus eternal. Life is short. Really short. And the things that seemed so important a mere five or ten or twenty years ago just don’t seem to matter. I’ve been abundantly blessed with material things. We live in an increasingly lovely home (still a work in progress after only two weeks …) in a beautiful new environment. We drive cars (with no debt). We have ample food.
But when it comes down to it, none of this matters any more. The only things that matter—that truly matter—are my God, my family and friends, and how I’m serving them. Is what I’m doing building God’s kingdom? Will it matter for eternity?
In John Piper’s book, Don’t Waste Your Life, he writes of a couple who retired early and spent their days traveling on their yacht. They walked along the beach picking up shells. One day, they’ll stand before the Lord’s throne and say, “Look at my shells.” What a waste of this life God has given us. Elsewhere, Piper writes:
God created you—and me—to live with a single, all-embracing, all-transforming passion—namely, a passion to glorify God by enjoying and displaying His supreme excellence in all spheres of life … The wasted life is the life without a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples.Yes, we’re all slowly, but surely, falling apart (sorry, but it’s true), but if we focus on the eternal, if we strive to bring glory to God by serving Him and others, our lives will not be wasted.
Our lives will have eternal meaning. And that’s all that really matters.