“Begin with the end in mind,” is one of Steven Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people. A Biblical way of saying this would be to have an eternal perspective. Randy Alcorn writes in Money, Possessions and Eternity: “Only when we gain an eternal perspective will we eagerly follow our Lord’s command to devote our brief lives on earth to the pursuit of eternal treasure.” In Ecclesiastes 3:10 Solomon writes that God has set eternity in our hearts, but doesn’t tell us how long we’ll live so that we’ll fear Him. We long for eternity on one hand, but we live for today on the other hand, locked into so many pursuits that will not give us treasure in Heaven, will be left behind for others to bid over at auctions, or will burn when this earth burns.
Having an eternal perspective:
- is bigger than what money we give, though that’s a start
- involves doing things that bear spiritual fruit, make disciples, help others come to know Jesus
- causes us to spend our time and money differently
- understands that one day we will all give an account to Jesus about what we’ve done
- serves others and not self
- makes us “be rich toward God,” as Luke 12:21 admonishes and full of good works (Acts 9:36-43 and Titus 2:14; 3:14)
- causes us to raise our standard of living to raise our standard of giving, not to indulge on ourselves
It should cause us to ask certain value questions like,
- Is my life really revolving around God’s kingdom, His glory and His people or is it about my plans, my dreams and my stuff?
- Have I been spending money on myself first and giving God the leftovers?
- Do I tithe and then do what I want with the rest, thinking that’s all there is to do?
- Is my view of life, money and reality radically different than the nonbelievers around me, or am I chasing the same things they are?
- What am I holding on to that is robbing me of present joy and future reward?
- What do I need to get rid of to find that joy and reward?
- How can I spend my time and money differently, with eternity in view?
- If how I spend my money indicates where my heart is, where am I spending most of my money?
- How can that change?
Scrooge had a visit from the ghosts of Christmas to change his perspective. I’m convinced that we all need a close up encounter with the living Spirit of God to burn off self and to give us a heart that beats for Him in a radical way. And it’s not just something that happens once at a camp somewhere in the past, but something that is a daily filling, empowering and transformation.
“If you then be risen with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you dies and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-3