Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Living in the Light of Eternity

Several years ago, I picked up the book Living in the Light of Eternity: How to Base Your Life on What Really Matters by Stacy and Paula Rinehart at a yard sale. It has sat on my bookshelf ever since. Apparently it is out of print because I had a hard time finding any information about it. Last week I picked it up and started reading it. Lately I have felt quite bogged down by the here-and-now and an eternal perspective (an eternal reality check perhaps?) sounds like just the thing I need. Consider this quote from the preface:

What is it that transforms an ordinary person into someone with extraordinary impact in his respective arena of influence? We believe the missing link is one of vision, the ability to see what is unseen, to weigh life’s various options on the scales of eternity. As creatures made in the image of God, designed for immortality, we need an eternal perspective to determine what really matters in life.

So what does it mean to live in the light of eternity? The Rineharts explain it this way:

To live in the light of eternity is to take the posture of a runner who is so intent on finishing the race, on following Christ, that all the unnecessary clutter drops off from lack of interest and use. The scriptural model is not one of retreating from this world but that of actively advancing toward another. Like Abraham, who best demonstrated the demeanor of someone “just passing through,” we must set our eyes on a better country, on an inheritance that is imperishable and undefiled. As displaced persons in an alien culture, we, like Daniel, can make our lives a statement of God’s power in a corrupt world.

I love that picture of a runner who is not running from something but toward something. I want my life to have that vision. I don’t want to run in circles but to move consistently forward, however slowly. Since I’m a sucker for analogies and illustrations, I can’t help but give you one more from the book.

Once when the Cleveland Symphony was performing The Magic Flute by Mozart, an electrical storm caused the lights to go out. Undaunted by the difficulties, the members of the orchestra knew the music so well that they completed the performance in the dark. At the end of the performance, the audience burst into thunderous applause, and a stagehand illuminated the orchestra and conductor with a flashlight so that they could take their bows.

It is much the same in the spiritual realm. If you know the Master, you can play His music even in the dark. You can live a holy life in an unholy realm. When caught between two worlds, the secret is to develop a mind-set that sees beyond the style of this world to the substance of the next.

God, please help me to see beyond the clutter of this world. Help me to know You so well that I can be a light for You, even in this dark world.

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