Friday, January 16, 2009

Purpose Driven Life - Life is a Temporary Assignment

The title of today's chapter is "Life is a Temporary Assignment"

This was a great reminder that all the material stuff here on earth isn't what really matters.

Quotes I liked:

"Life on earth is a temporary assignment."

"To make the best use of your life, you must never forget two truths: First, compared with eternity, life is extremely brief. Second, earth is only a temporary residence."

"Repeatedly the Bible compares life on earth to temporarily living in a foreign land."

"God says his children are to think differently about life from the way unbelievers do."

"Your identity is in eternity, and your homeland is in heaven."

"When we flirt with temptations of this world, God calls it spiritual adultery."

"God warns us to net get too attached to what's around us because it is temporary."

"Only as we remember that life is a test, a trust, and a temporary assignment will the appeal of [worldly things] loser their grip on our lives. We are preparing for something even better."

"The fact that earth is not our ultimate home explains why, as followers of Jesus, we experience difficulty, sorrow and rejection in this world."

"In order to keep us from becoming too attached to earth, God allows us to feel a significant amount of discontent and dissatisfaction in life--longings that will never be fulfilled on this side of eternity."

"Realizing that life on earth is just a temporary assignment should radically alter your values. Eternal values, not temporal ones, should become the deciding factors for your decisions."

"The abundant life has nothing to do with material abundance, and faithfulness to God does not guarantee success in a career or even ministry. Never focus on temporary crowns."

"Your time on earth is not the complete story of your life. You must wait until heaven for the rest of the chapters. It takes faith to life on earth as a foreigner."

"At death you won't leave home--you'll go home."

Today's Point to Ponder is "The world is not my home."

Today's Verse to Remember is "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV).

Today's Question to Consider is "How should the fact that life on earth is just a temporary assignment change the way I am living right now?"

It is way to easy to allow what this life has to offer to be the only thing that fills my view. Yes, even as a pastor it is easy to get caught up in this world, sometimes without even knowing it. I admit, there are a lot of fun things this world offers. Money for instance. Money is fun. Spending money is more fun. There is no doubt about it. Once you have it it can become very addicting. There other things as well.

So it is hard to keep one's mind on eternal things. I've tried to get this same concept across by using an illustration. Your life is a large red dot. Eternity is a large red line that has no ending. If I place that red dot right in front of me it is going to be huge. The closer I am to it the more it fills my view, but as I slowly back away from it and I begin to take notice of the line of eternity, the further I get from the dot the smaller and smaller it becomes until finally it has disappeared and only the line remains. This is our life. It is insignificant compared to eternity.

So how do I allow this view to affect my life right now? This is the view that I am supposed to have as a pastor, but unfortunately I don't always have it. I can't tell you how many times I have had teens come into our youth group and I have let them go without personally talking to them about Christ. Why? Because there were other "more important" things to do!! I lost sight of the life. I thought that what I was doing at the moment was the most important thing instead of realizing that sharing the Gospel with these teens (and hopefully introducing them to Christ).

I have a number of teens right now who don't know God personally. Just the other day I took the time to talk to one of them. I need to take the time and talk to all of them. What's the most important thing? Seeing them go to heaven.

As a pastor I sometimes place my work before my family. A couple of times Tami has commented about how I have taken a SOAP study or one of these chapters from the Purpose Driven Life and only applied it to "the teens." (As you can see, I did it again). She has reminded me that I have a couple of teens and younger children as well. If I can't help my own children get to eternity then I probably won't be that effective in helping others get to heaven either.

So this eternal view really begins in the home and extends outward. I need to see the "big picture" with my kids. Many times I only see the here and now. The chore that wasn't done. The word or deed that was said or done in a disrespectful manner. The attitude. I look at all of these things in the here and now instead of viewing them against eternity. Some of the things I get upset are just not that important in the long run. Other things I get upset for need to be gotten upset for, but I get upset for the wrong reasons.

If I approach life as a humanist (man being the center) then I am a humanist and I will teach my children to be humanists, but if I approach life as a Christian (God being in the center) then I will teach my children to be Christians. I think that is what it really comes down to and what Rick is talking about. Francis Shaeffer pretty much says the same thing in his book The Christian Manifesto. These are really the only two worldviews that exists. Either God is in the center of our lives and we have this eternal view or we are in the center of our lives and we have a temporal view. I want to maintain the eternal view. God needs to be the center.

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