The Brightest Stars in the Universe
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Our son had the privilege of playing on a state championship football team in high school. And that's a really big deal! They were the toast of the school, the heroes of the town, for a while, until next year. Some of those heroes came back from college to visit the old alma mater, and you know what? They just weren't a big deal anymore. Some new guys were the ones wearing the jerseys now and getting all the attention. Sorry, guys! Last year's glory - yesterday's news. What do you bet those guys will still be looking for someone to tell about the big game when they're 70 years old?
Forgotten victory, tarnished trophies - that's the story of most of life's great achievements, isn't it? A big deal for a while but quickly faded. The title we fought for and got will be someone else's before long, and it won't even take a day to change the name on the door. All those achievements that mean so much at the time, all the rewards we wanted so long - gone so soon...except for one.
And it's revealed in our word for today from the Word of God in Daniel 12:2-3. "Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt." Two eternal addresses - every person you've ever met, every person in your life will spend forever at one of these two eternal destinations - heaven or hell. The only thing they have in common is that they're both "ever-lasting."
That ultimate values-clarifier provides the backdrop now for Daniel 12:3, the path to a greatness that will never die. "Those who are wise shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness like the stars for ever and ever." Tell me, what have you done in your life, or what can you do with the rest of your life that will give you a greatness that will make you "shine like the stars for ever and ever?" Only one thing. Lead people to God's way, and in so doing, help them change their eternal address from hell to heaven. That's ultimate greatness. It's the kind of spiritual greatness your heart is hungry for.
What's exciting about this greatness is it's within everyone's reach. You don't have to be especially intelligent, or educated, or talented, or good-looking, or rich, or well-connected. This has nothing to do with your ability, only your availability for God to speak through you to explain what His Son did on the cross for the people you know. And, in fact, this helping people to go to heaven is the real reason why you are where you are. Jesus placed you there so people there could find Him. How are you doing? Your eternity-changing assignment is why you are who you are, why you've been through what you've been through, so you could talk to people like you and they would listen to you when you tell them what Jesus did for them.
I don't know what you're focusing your best energies on right now, your influence, your prayers, your ambitions. But if it doesn't impact eternity, it is too small to matter much. That's why the Bible says, "He who wins souls is wise" (Proverbs 11:30). I know you want to make a greater difference with the rest of your life than you've made until now. There is no greater difference you can possibly make in the life of someone you care about than to help them be in heaven with you forever.
Every person you know who doesn't know Jesus in your family, every person you work with, every person you go to school with, that's in your personal world is a future inhabitant of hell. Unless someone tells them how they can be a future resident of heaven. Introduce them to Jesus and you are going to shine like the stars, forever and ever!