I think one of the hardest points for us to lay hold of is that every act of every day has eternal consequence. We look at some of the rote, mundane, and seemingly trivial elements of our daily routines and consider them the warm up before we can step up to the pitcher’s mound and throw the curve balls, sliders and fastballs for the real game. Even then we consider most of the “important” parts of our days to be too regulare too earthly to have spiritual significance.
You could this is a sort of spiritual near-sightedness; or maybe more accurately, near-blindness. We can only see the immidate results of our actions, and therefore have little trouble with living in the present. However, we do so at the expense of not only a fast-approaching future, but also that of our eternal future.
I am physically near-sighted and have worn glasses since I was twelve years old. At the risk of stating the obvious, I cannot see things further away with clarity or ven much distinction at times, although I can read and write, shave and get ready for the day without my glasses.
I remember, too, the circumstances around my first pair of glasses. I was sitting in church with my family on a Sunday night. My dad, who would quickly admit that I was raised on Star Trek and Star Wars, made a comment that the guest speaker had pointed, Spock-like ears. Mom chuckled and passed the comment on to me, but as I cocked my head and failed to see what they did, I felt impelled to disagree. They pressed a bit further and I continued to defend my position, until mom took off her glasses and asked me to try again. As I admitted defeat, my parents looked quietly at each other, knowing the next step for me.
After receiving that first pair, I was taken for a ride in the car with my dad. The city I grew up in was located at a point north of Minneapolis where the elevation slowly dropped from our hilltop down to the valley of the suburbs. On one particular roadway, you could see off into northwest suburbia for miles and miles. Had I not been driven to this particular vantage point, I might not have grasped the impact my near-sightedness had on what I could see and perceive with clarity. I will never forget the day we pulled onto University Avenue and I looked out into a clear blue distance, cars running up and down the highway, electrical towers far in the distance, seeing for the first time farther and more clearly than ever before.
Most of us have narrowed eternity down to settling the question of an eternal home. This becomes obvious when we discuss eternity in our churches, we mostly refer only to Heaven or hell.
How shocked would you be to hear your pastor or an evangelist preach that Heaven and hell are not the final eternal homes of mankind? But what does Scripture say? The book of Revelation, in fact, tells about (1) an abyss which hell/Hades and the lake of fire are thrown into; and (2) a new heaven and new earth for those who have chosen Christ. In this respect, even in our evangelical churches, our teaching and preaching is short sighted.
I’ve taken a bit longer on this than I had desired, but hopefully you are beginning to wonder about, if not see the signs of, how we lock eternity into such a limited portion of our doctrine, our vision, and our daily lives.