Stewards of Eternal Life
It is important to address the theology tied to the phrase “eternal life” (1Jn 2:25; cf. 3:15; 5:11–13,20). In Scripture, eternal life has the connotation of future reward, to be sure, but it also has a present sense of the type of life that comes when we remain in Christ here and now. This Biblical concept should not be understood in exclusively physical or spiritual terms. Easton’s Bible Dictionary gives us this definition of eternal life:
[The expression “eternal life”] occurs frequently in the New Testament. It comprises the whole future of the redeemed (Lk 16:9), and is opposed to “eternal punishment”
Eternal life and Christian stewardship are intimately connected in the administration of the new life in Christ we currently participate in. Evangelical theologian R. Scott Rodin explores the idea that eternal life is not only a future reality but a present reality of a life lived in Christ.
We live in a kingdom that is both “now” and “not yet.” This provisional nature provides us with the opportunity to live as children in God’s kingdom and thereby to announce the grace of God to all of the world. If we hear the “not yet” nature of the kingdom in
Rodin describes the life of a steward who lives in the awareness of the fullness of eternal life.
Imagine what life would be like if every day was seen as an incredible gift in a life that was guaranteed to last forever. Imagine what it would be like to be so certain about tomorrow that you could be free to invest every hour of today doing whatever was most pleasing to God. Imagine being so certain about who you were in the eyes of God that you could give yourself away in service to others with real joy. This is not only possible; it is our calling as stewards in the kingdom of the triune God who has freed us for just this kind of rich and abundant life.
Think About It
•In what ways does eternal life have a component that is lived out in the present?
•How does the perspective of eternity influence the way you live?
•How do you steward eternal life?
Act on It
Spend some time imagining the scenarios described by Rodin. How does this exercise affect your perspectives on stewardship and eternity?
This devotion is from the NIV Stewardship Study Bible by Zondervan. Used with permission.