“Mama, how much money do you and Daddy have?” This question was posed by my precocious (and obviously nosy) five year old son, Charlie, from the backseat of the minivan. I asked him why he wanted to know and his response was, “Well, if you have a hundred dollars, that means we are rich! That would be the most money ever! I can’t believe we are rich!” We chatted more about money - explaining that he was indeed not a Rockefeller - and then he was on to more challenging questions like what I thought Captain America’s first name was or what dinosaur I would choose to be. (Brian and Triceratops, respectively).
In the preschool world, learning to count to a high number is a big deal. Charlie has mastered up to about the mid-thirties before he gets a little fuzzy. His goal this year is eventually to get to one hundred which is where they will stop until kindergarten. It occurred to me that Charlie probably figures that when you get to one hundred that’s it! So, of course, if we had one hundred dollars that would mean, in his mind, we were rich! He could not imagine any number being higher than one hundred!
Our minivan conversation came to mind when the Lord brought Ecclesiastes 3:11 to me recently;
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Much like Charlie’s limited counting; it seems that I also have a pretty finite understanding of endless time. Eternity comes in a close second to the great mysteries of the Trinity in my book. We talk of eternity when we discuss Heaven or God’s creation of the world but whenever I truly allow my heart to dwell on eternity I get overwhelmed. While I know I am sealed with Christ and am assured my eternity will be spent with Him, my true grasp on the fullness of eternity is probably about as firm as Charlie’s grasp on our family’s financial status.
Solomon writes that “He has SET ETERNITY in the human heart…". God has put it in our DNA. Believers and non-believers alike. I know personally I often struggle to comprehend time without end, much less time before I came on the scene. Thinking outside the record of our own life, our own family or our own culture does not come easily. My scope is so limited yet God has been at work before the beginning of time and there will be no end.
Pain, grief and trials are all a part of this earthly side of eternity. Scripture tells us so. Thankfully we will also get to enjoy the boundless gifts of peace, love and joy. I tend to think of my little segment as a blip on the screen of eternity; something with a beginning and end. Thinking in terms of eternity has both challenged and changed me.
If I truly lived with eternity in my heart, how will that affect my decisions here on earth?
Giving weight to the choices that will make an eternal difference causes me to do a gut check. Fostering relationships, making enduring investments and creating a Godly heritage for my family - these are the things that will make a difference both here and in Heaven. These are all that matter. There is a great sense of temporary to the rest of it.
Living in light of eternity helps me remember that there is so much more than this world. Our life is far greater than a blip to our Father. My earthly life will absolutely have a beginning and an end. My everlasting life with Jesus has neither.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)