Congratulations to our giveaway winners!
Though it has been numerous years, I confess, once or twice I’ve given in to playing the lottery. Typically, it is when it reaches some astronomical number and every one at work chips into buy a few tickets. While I know it is essentially throwing that money away, it is tempting to think of what I might do with that money — both the good and some of the luxuries I might enjoy.
But, I know I really would be a fool if I bought a ticket and then started living like I had the money in hand already. If I gave away more than I make in a year in one full swoop or bought a new this or that, all on the notion that my winning day was coming, betting my life on what might happen.
I use to think that eternal life was a little like that — betting my today on what would happen tomorrow. But then a few years ago I came across John 17:3. It’s embedded in John’s rendition of the last supper. Jesus prays for his disciples, thanking God for the authority that God has given him to grant eternal life. And there it is in verse 3 (NIV) a definition of eternal life unlike anything you will find in Webster’s:
Now this eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
Eternal life is not simply about living forever. It is far grander and more far reaching than that. It is relational. It is knowing God and Jesus. For God’s children, it isn’t about something that will happen after we die. It is about something that happens the moment we let God into our hearts to claim us as His.
While I’m still waiting for the fullness of what that means, I’ve in one sense already won the “lottery.” I have eternal life in hand because I know Jesus.
Unlike the monetary lottery, I am called to go ahead and live it out, to spend my life on Him and the things He cares about. What that has meant for me has changed over the years. For a while it was doing ministry with college students. For eight weeks once, it was a mission trip to Russia. It has meant sponsoring Compassion children. It has meant numerous points of volunteering. It has meant giving my lunch to a homeless guy. And sometimes it is in the mundane, everyday things, like saying a kind word or making a meal.
Missionary Jim Elliot put it this way, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
How does knowing how Jesus defined eternal life change your perspective?
What might God be asking you to spend your life on in the future?
What can you spend your life on today to further God’s kingdom in some way?
God calls us to spend our lives on Him and His people because our tomorrow began the day He called us His.