A great-nephew of mine received a birthday card from Granny, his great-grandmother (my mother). What makes this more than a little interesting is that Granny had died a few weeks earlier. My mother often prepared her birthday cards well in advance and had my sister, with whom she lived, mail them at the appropriate time. It was the last card Mom prepared before her death. My sister told me that Mom had included in the card a page torn out of a daily devotional booklet that described clearly how to be right with God and spend eternity in His heaven.
Mom told me toward the end of her life that pretty much all she thought about was heaven. Her great desire was that all of her family would find the Lord and His heaven to be most important to them as well.
The birthday card from heaven to a great-grandson is a good reminder as to how we should view life. In Stephen Covey’s book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, the second habit he identifies is to “begin with the end in mind.” As a pastor for 40 years, I came alongside many a person who had come to the end of their life. I can tell you that none of them at that point were focused on achieving great things in a career, finding the best restaurant in town, acquiring a really wonderful house, having great sex, accumulating more money, keeping up with the latest clothing styles, or any of the myriad of things that capture our hearts during a lifetime. I came alongside them as their pastor to talk with them and pray with them about what was to many of them the most important of all subjects, the Lord, His love for them, His willingness to graciously forgive them, and His desire to have them spend eternity with Him. Yes, life takes on a very narrow focus near the end.
I’m not trying to be morbid; far from it. It’s just that when you have a pretty good idea of how things are going to be at the end of this life, take that into account, and respond appropriately, then you’re really able to live life to the full up to that point. Only when we’re prepared to die are we in a position to really live!
There are a great many facets to life that interest us, challenge us, or that are important for living in this real world. In and through it all, however, it’s good to hold to eternity’s perspective. We live best when we live with the end in mind!
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)