If you could only have one word etched on your tombstone when you die, what would you want that word to be? Choose a word not necessarily describing who you are right now, but who you hope to become by the end of your life; that testament to others of how you would be remembered. Think carefully…now hold on to your answer!
I recently conducted a little exercise in forward thinking on my Facebook page, asking my readers this same question. The response was actually quite surprising, and I even got a few from people outside my contact list. Other than a couple who responded with the word “dead” or some other humorous contribution, most—even non-believers—gave a very spiritual or virtuous answer.
Interestingly, I noticed that no one answered with a word that describes how we often try so hard to be branded while we're living. Rich. Talented. Successful. Envied. Beautiful. Thin. Powerful. Respected. When we look at life from the broad angle, our vision gets so distorted! When we feel we have at least 20, 30, 40 years left, we begin to pursue such superficial, hay-and-stubble attributes. The perspective is quite different, however, when we fast-forward clear to the rolling of the credits. I wonder, how many reading this devotional will be in eternity this time next year…
I challenge you today to wipe your blackboard clean of shallow ambitions. Oh, the above attributes aren’t necessarily bad in and of themselves, but each one has the potential to crowd out the eternal—if we don’t keep our carnal, fleshly desires in check. These things are avenues of opportunity rather than a basis for our existence. You simply can’t invest your eternal soul on a single one of them! Dear friends, if we try to build something lasting on a temporary foundation, we’re building castles on sand…doomed to collapse when the storms of life bear down. The Word tells us that the only secure foundation upon which we can build is the Rock…Jesus.
These bodies wear out, as do all things temporary in nature. Doing everything in our power to maintain these fragile clay vessels, we couldn’t buy one more day if we were the richest man on earth. So why, oh why, would we place our faith, affections—and yes, even our worship—in something that most certainly has an expiration date? Assessing your own priorities and pursuits, could you, on your deathbed, advise your loved ones to follow the same road you’ve traveled?
Though we are indeed saved through faith, we will still give account of our lives at the Bema. When at last we stand before the Lord, our works will be tested in the fire. Only that which remains after the purging will be eternal currency. I pray for myself, and for you today, that when the smoke clears and our righteous judge, Jesus Christ, blows away the ashes, there remains a beautiful chunk of gold—so shiny that when He looks at it, He sees His own image.
For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!], Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting. (2 Cor. 4:17-18 AMP)