by Marty Rind
I turned 25 in September. When I was a kid, that always seemed so old and like I would never reach that age. My perception of age, as most kids, was really off. When I substituted for Temple Christian the week of my birthday, one of the 5th grade students thought I was in my 40s. I couldn’t help but laugh because I remember what it was like when I was that age. I had my whole life ahead of me. Some would argue that I still have my whole life ahead of me, even though I don’t always feel that way.
I often find myself wondering what it would have been to be Adam or Methuselah, who each lived for more than 900 years in a world that was new. I sometimes find myself thinking that a week seems like a long time, or a month, or even a year, but that pales in comparison to a lifetime, especially one that long. I mean, what did they do? What did they look like? Is that where George Lucas got his idea for Yoda? (I know: I’m a nerd.) I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to be on this earth for nearly 1000 years. It seems insane to me. I think I would lose my mind wanting to be with Jesus for eternity. I have issues with patience as it is.
I think we all have an issue with our perception of time, though. At least, I hope I’m not alone in this. Whether we live to be 20 or live to be 100, we are living in a minor blip of history that may just be forgotten in a few hundred years. I wonder what people living in the future will think of us today. Will they consider our technology as outdated like we think of Gutenberg’s typewriter or original cotton gin that Eli Whitney created? Will they think that cars are primitive because they have figured out a much more efficient way to travel? What will it be like?
You see, when it really comes down to it, and I don’t mean to be a debbie downer here, our lives are not so significant in the historical sense of this world. However, there is great hope yet, because although we may not be historically significant like George Washington, Albert Einstein, or Winston Churchill, we can have absolutely immense spiritual significance like Billy Graham and C.S. Lewis, as they reached thousands for Christ.
I saw an illustration from Francis Chan not long ago that depicted this better than anything that I had ever seen. He had an enormously long rope, and the very end was colored red. He talked about how our life, no matter how long it is, is symbolized by the red part and then we have all eternity to spend with Jesus, which was the rest of the rope. If we are truly Christians, then should we not make the most of the red part so that the rest of the rope is that much more wonderful? Should we not live our lives for the sake of the rest of the rope? Yes, we think some people are old when they have lived 80-90 years, but that is nothing when you consider eternity. Paul writes in Romans 8:18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” He understood history. He knew that whatever he had to go through in this life for the sake of the gospel was worth it because he had eternity to look forward to. Do we have that same attitude?
I hate the idea that people are going to hell every day because they don’t know Jesus. A lot of Christians don’t like talking about hell, myself included, but this is the ultimate reality for those that don’t know Jesus. It’s up to the church to make the most of our red part of the rope in order to make the white part of the rope the best it can be for the people of the world. I think it’s time to start tearing down the divisions among people and start considering what we can do to help them better understand who Jesus is so they don’t have to suffer in Hell when they die. Revelation has a number of beautiful scenes of people worshipping God as one. For example, Revelation 5:9-10 states, “And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.’” God wants to spend eternity with people from all walks of life, not just those that the church deems worthy. It should be our goal, then, to do what we can to make this life count in order to make eternity all the more glorious for the rest of humanity.