Francis Chan said “People accuse me of going overboard in preparing for my first ten million years in eternity. In my opinion, people go overboard in worrying about their last ten years on earth.” If you’re like me and pretty much every other Christ-follower I know, that statement should feel like a punch in the gut. It should hurt because we know he’s right. We live in such a backwards way, putting our own selfish wants and desires ahead of pursuing the mission God has given to us. While we wring our hands over our 401(k)’s and obsess over how we will spend our retirement, we give precious little thought to preparing to spend eternity with God.
For many of us, Christianity is all about getting what happens when we die taken care of so that we can focus all of our energy on living a happy and comfortable life. We are consumed on the temporal, short-term things while giving little more than lip service to the everlasting and long-term realities. Don’t believe me? How much time did you spend planning what you will do today versus the time you spent planning how you can best serve God and further His Kingdom? Let’s be honest, most of us rarely consciously plan how we will impact the world for Jesus today; but all of us make some sort of plans for our own life.
Everything about the Kingdom of God is upside down. We turn the other cheek when we are struck. We love those who hate us and pray for the ones who persecute us. The way we lead the world is by serving our neighbor. It’s all backwards and upside down to the way this world works. Our plans for the future are no different. Society (ruled by Satan) tells you to get all you can now, and hoard as much as you can for later. It’s all about accumulating stuff for your own comfort and perceived security. But when was the last time you were encouraged to serve God with everything that you have today, giving away your possessions or (Heaven forbid) skipping a meal? That’s not what success or comfort looks like. Sadly, it’s just not how we live.
We have it backwards. Our entire lives should be focused on preparing for the ten million years after we die. What are 70 or 80 years compared to 10,000,000? I wanted to write that numerically to give you a sense of the trivial nature of the length of time we spend on earth. What’s more, ten million years is only the beginning. It makes no sense to focus on the here and now when it is no more than a blink in time. Every day, every act, every thought should be lived towards loving and serving God. We do this by loving and serving others. It’s easy to do, but so very easy not to do. Where are your plans, in the now or in the future? Are they for this life or the next? We’ve all wasted too much time already. Let’s begin today – this moment – living our lives focused on the first ten million years after we die.