Transient vs. Eternal

For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. ESV 2 Corinthians 4:18

I just returned from visiting a family who lost a son last night. He was only 40. As I sat with his mother and sisters we grieved the loss of a young man who from our perspective only lived half his life. Situations like this challenge us to think deeply and call us to give heed to our own lives and circumstances. Are we prepared for our lives to end? Are we living for the temporal or for the eternal?

God created us as eternal beings. We will exist forever. For 70 years or so (perhaps quite a few more, possible quite a few less), we exist on this earth where things are seen. Where things are transient, temporal, fading. We then transition to eternity where things are unseen. Where we exist in perpetuity, either in eternal life with our creator or eternal death separated from everything good. Unfortunately, because our transient temporary life consists of what is seen, we find ourselves drawn toward the present. We value people, things, money, experiences, the moment–forgetting that everything seen will eventually disappear. People change, leave our lives, even die. Things rust, rot, break, dissolve and disappear. Money seems to go the quickest. Experiences are enjoyable, but quickly fade to distant memory. All that we see is truly transient. In the midst of our transient world, Jesus calls us to live for the unseen, the future, our eternal life with Him. Granted, we find this much more challenging, as we won’t see the fruit of our labors until we pass into the next life. However, even though the eternal things may not manifest themselves, this is no way makes them less a reality. Our spiritual formation calls us to live in light of eternity.

Tragic deaths, like the passing of my friend, serve to remind us eternity awaits. We may not receive all 70+ years we assume have been granted us. Too often we live for the moment, the temporary, the transient, and not for the future. May we take time today to consider the unseen eternal things and determine how to live in light of them. Then when God calls us into eternity, our eyes can be opened to things that remain, things that matter, things that satisfy. Live for eternity my friends!

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