Don’t get too comfortable with 2024. It won’t be around that long.

Have you noticed that time seems to go faster than it used to? Would you like to know why it seems so? Einstein had a theory. (Of course, he did.) His idea was something like this:

When we are five, a year is twenty percent of our lives. When we are twenty, a year is five percent of our lives. Time does not go faster, but our perception of it changes. We unconsciously compare the current year to all the previous years, and from that perspective, each year becomes a progressively smaller percentage; therefore, it seems to go faster.

There is a lesson in this for us. In today’s Scripture passage, Solomon describes the pointlessness of some people’s actions. They work and toil to gain wealth and influence … that will all pass away with this life. Is this wise? No.

I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of its owner or wealth lost through some misfortune so that when he has a son, there is nothing left for him. Naked, a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand. (Eccl 5:13-15 NIV)

So, what is wise? How should we then live? We should live with an awareness of an everlasting perspective. The more we allow the understanding of what comes after this life to be a part of this life now, the more we will live for what is coming.

Though already aware, my recent experience showed me how quickly this life could transition into the next. Had it not been for Karen and a team of courageous intercessors praying for me, I would not be here now. To say that it changed me profoundly is an understatement.

What comes after this life transcends this present reality to which we are limited. If we must work and toil, let’s be certain that we do things that will “carry over.” How can we do this? I believe it begins with building a strong, dynamic relationship with God. In my “moment,” I was more aware of this than ever before. (Still am.)

Jesus said something chilling in Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” He continues to describe what the conversation will be as people seek to justify themselves: “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” (NIV)

In this, Jesus describes people who were doing things for Him but not with Him. They trusted in those things and thought this was all right and that their works justified them. They found out otherwise. There was no relationship. He did not know them. This tells us how valuable relationship is to Him. So valuable that without it, He says in essence, “Get away from Me!”

There is nothing wrong with working hard and accomplishing things in this life so long as what we do here does not compete with or diminish who we are in Him. Is it possible to do both at the same time? Yes, it is–but it takes conscious and intentional effort.

Solomon said, “He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.” Now counter this with what Jesus said: “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit and that your fruit should remain …” (John 15:16 MKJV)

Some things WILL carry over (remain), but not our “stuff” from here. Will your fruit remain? Will what you do here pass beyond the barrier of this reality into the next? Is your treasure here or there (Matthew 6:19-21)? These questions should be asked now. Then is too late.

In today’s message, I intend more of a “make you think” point. So, I hope you will think about this. But don’t stop there. DO something about it. But don’t think too long. Time’s not waitin’ for ya. OK?

From ministry friend Randall Vaughn.
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