Does Your Life Make Sense in the Light of Eternity?

By Michael Brown Published on March 18, 2018

This past week, I turned 63 years old, the same age at which my father died suddenly in 1977. And although my health is great and I hope to have many years ahead to serve God, I have asked myself this question for decades: Does my life make sense in the light of eternity?

Put another way, if the Bible is really true and Jesus really died for my sins, is my life consistent with those realities? Or am I consumed with the things of this world — with sports or entertainment or earthly pleasures?

Or am I holding back from full obedience to God because I’m more concerned with what people think? Because human opinion is more real to me than divine opinion? Because I’d rather live in earthly safety then step out and live by faith?

That is the opposite of what it means to live in the light of eternity.

The Light of Eternity

C. T. Studd was born to a wealthy British family in 1860 and became a follower of Jesus in 1877. He then became an outstanding cricket player while a student at Cambridge University and seemed to have a bright future ahead of him in England.

He was well-positioned in life, he was highly respected by his peers, and he was a Christian. But something was missing. He was not living in the light of eternity.

It was at this time that he read a tract written by an atheist, and that tract rocked his life. The atheist wrote:

Did I firmly believe, as millions say they do, that the knowledge and practice of religion in this life influences destiny in another, religion would mean to me everything. I would cast away earthly enjoyments as dross, earthly cares as follies, and earthly thoughts and feelings as vanity. Religion would be my first waking thought, and my last image before sleep sank me into unconsciousness. I should labour in its cause alone. I would take thought for the morrow of Eternity alone. I would esteem one soul gained for heaven worth a life of suffering. Earthly consequences should never stay my hand, nor seal my lips. Earth, its joys and its griefs, would occupy no moment of my thoughts. I would strive to look upon Eternity alone, and on the Immortal Souls around me, soon to be everlastingly happy or everlastingly miserable. I would go forth to the world and preach to it in season and out of season, and my text would be, WHAT SHALL IT PROFIT A MAN IF HE GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD AND LOSE HIS OWN SOUL?

Studd was convinced that this atheist did, in fact, describe “the truly consistent life.” But when he looked at his own life, he saw “how inconsistent it had been.” And so he determined that, “from that time forth my life should be consistent, and I set myself to know what was God’s will for me.”

He ended up leaving the comforts of England to serve as a missionary in China, then India. Then, for many years, he served in Africa, dying there in 1931.

He summed up the philosophy of his life in his poem Only One Life, Twill Soon Be Past. The first and last stanzas read:

Two little lines I heard one day,

Traveling along life’s busy way;

Bringing conviction to my heart,

And from my mind would not depart;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,

Now let me say, “Thy will be done”;

And when at last I’ll hear the call,

I know I’ll say “’twas worth it all”;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

The language may be a bit flowery for many today, but the message is clear as a bell.

A Wasted Life

We only have one life to live, and then we’re gone. Only one life to repay our debt of gratitude to the Lord. Only one life to make a difference in this rebellious world. Only one life to give it our best shot. Only one life to explore the talents and gifts and opportunities we have been given.

Yet so many of us live with half-hearted devotion, as if this world were our eternal home and as if we would one day stand before the judgment seat of man, not God. What a waste of a life.

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The Methodist preacher W. E. Sangster (1900-1960) once asked, “How shall I feel at the judgment, if multitudes of missed opportunities pass before me in full review, and all my excuses prove to be disguises of my cowardice and pride?”

And how shall we feel if we squandered years of missed opportunities because we were so busy with trivial, worthless things?

May God help each of us to live our lives so that, at the the end our days, we will be able to say, “My life made sense in the light of eternity.”

We can do this if we live each day — each “today” — so we’ll have no regrets tomorrow.

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