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Pastor's Corner: A Fleeting Moment

[Job 8:8-19] Bildad, "good" friend that he is, is telling Job to mend his ways because his troubles are a result of his sinfulness. He tells Job to consult the knowledge of the ages to see that this is true, because he says, "we were born only yesterday and know nothing, and our days on earth are but a shadow ... Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless" (Job 8:9, 13). As wrong as he is about Job and his relationship to God, Bildad is right that life is temporary. Life is a temporary assignment.

To make the best of your life, you must never forget two truths: First, compared with eternity, life is extremely brief. Second, earth is only a temporary residence. You won't be here long, so don't get too attached.

Repeatedly the Bible compares life on earth to temporarily living in a foreign country. This is not your permanent home or final destination. You're just passing through, just visiting earth. The Bible uses terms like alien, pilgrim, foreigner, stranger, visitor, and traveler to describe our brief stay on earth. Knowing that earth is not our final destination has many implications for our lives.

Your identity is in eternity, and your homeland is heaven. When you grasp the truth, you will stop worrying about "having it all" on earth. God is very blunt about the danger of living for the here and now and adopting the values, priorities, and lifestyles of the world around us. When we flirt with the temptations of this world, God calls it spiritual adultery. The Bible says, "You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God?" (James 4:4).

With all the fascinating attractions, mesmerizing media, and enjoyable experiences available today, it's easier to forget that the pursuit of happiness is not what life is about. Only as we remember that life is a test, a trust, and a temporary assignment will the appeal of these things lose their grip on our lives. We are preparing for something better.

It is a fatal mistake to assume that God's goal for your life is material prosperity or popular success, as the world defines it. The abundant life has nothing to do with material abundance and faithfulness to God does not guarantee success in a career or even in ministry. Never focus on temporary crowns, "Beloved, I urge you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the desires of the flesh that wage war against the soul" (1 Peter 2:11).

Paul was faithful, yet he ended up in prison. John the Baptist was faithful, yet he was beheaded. Millions of faithful people have been martyred, have lost everything, or have come to the end of life with nothing to show for it. But the end of life is not the end! Pray about it: Lord of my life, help me to live for you here on earth while my heart longs for heaven.

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Pastor Michael O'Hearn

Hi-Line Lutheran Churches

 

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