Easter changes the way we look at our time here on earth.
Jonathan R. Hein
Picture a timeline ten feet long, perhaps drawn on a large whiteboard. On one end is a zero. On the other end is the number 10,000. The timeline represents 10,000 years. Now imagine shading the first 80 years of that timeline red. That’s the length of a normal human lifespan. Do you know how long that shaded portion is? Not even a full inch.
Now, let’s consider what our lifespan means if the 10,000 years is 24 hours. If our life span represents less than an inch of the 10,000-year timeline, how long is our lifespan on the new scale of 24 hours? It’s a scant 11-and-a-half minutes.
A new perspective on time
So what? Well, imagine you got up one morning and for the first 11-and-a-half minutes, everything went wrong. You stubbed your toe getting out of bed. You ran out of shampoo. You burnt your toast. It’s a bad start. But for the next 23 hours, 48-and-a-half minutes, everything in your day went perfectly. Obviously, you have had a very good day!
Now go back to the timeline and replace the 24 hours with 10,000 years, so that the red-shaded portion once again represents 80 years. Imagine everything in the first 80 years is pain and heartbreak from the moment you are born until the day you die. However, the next 9,920 years are perfectly blissful, nothing but joy. You must agree that, overall, the first 10,000 years of your existence have been extremely good!
Now remember the last verse of “Amazing Grace.” It goes, “When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’d first begun” (Christian Worship 379:4).
This is what Jesus has promised. “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25). Christ’s resurrection from the dead proves not only that he has delivered you from your sin but also that he holds the keys to the grave. You are going to rise to everlasting life. “The trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable” (1 Corinthians 15:52). Imperishable. The first 10,000 years of your existence is just the start!
A new perspective on life
When that promise sinks in, it gives us an eternal-life perspective. That perspective changes everything.
When we focus just on this life, problems look huge. If you fight cancer for five years, that’s a big portion of your earthly life. But if you have an eternal-life perspective, your problems start to look tiny, precisely because you realize that they consist of an infinitesimal portion of your entire existence. Five years is nothing compared to 10,000 years.
When we focus just on this life, we tend to hoard resources. We feel that we can’t volunteer too much time or give too much money to church. But if you have an eternal-life perspective, you joyfully can give generous amounts of time and money in service of your Savior. You know that Easter means that the riches of heaven are yours and that time is something you have in infinite supply. Here, on earth, is the time to work hard to share the gospel. The time to rest is coming later, and it shall never end.
Easter means you are eternal, friends. Let that truth shape your priorities for the very brief part of your existence that you spend in this world.
Jon Hein, pastor at Beautiful Savior, Summerville, South Carolina, is also the director of the Commission on Congregational Counseling.
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Author: Jonathan R. Hein
Volume 104, Number 4
Issue: April 2017
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