Do you remember the story of the rich fool in our Lord’s parable in Luke 12? According to verse 13 of that chapter, a man approached Jesus one day saying, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus responded with a warning, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”
To illustrate the point, Jesus told the story of a certain rich man whose farms yielded abundantly for several years. The successful farmer kept building more barns to hoard his wealth, and he thought he was set for life. He said to himself, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”
But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be?” Jesus concluded His story by saying: “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:19-20).
More Than Just Today
We shouldn’t just live for today, because today doesn’t last very long. We mustn’t just live for the moment, because the moments are fleeting. How we invest our time, energy, labor, and money either guarantees or nullifies our legacy.
Life is short. It’s a vapor that appears for a moment, and then vanishes. Hoarding our resources isn’t a worthy goal. We’re created with eternity in our hearts, and our lives have everlasting value. When we live with eternity in view, our works will follow us and we’ll leave a heritage.
Here are some ways to help along the process:
Take every opportunity to sow the seed of the Gospel. When the Lord is finished with us, He’ll take us to heaven. But until then, there’s a message to share. We may not see many of the results, but we can faithfully sow the seed.
Do all the good you can do. The Bible assures us that as we feed the hungry, visit the incarcerated, care for the poor, and provide for widows and orphans, we’re doing it as to Jesus. These simple acts of kindness are eternal deeds of Christlikeness that procure heavenly rewards (Matthew 25:40).
Give liberally to the work of the Kingdom. George Sweeting, former president of Moody Bible Institute, said, “When we come to the end of life, the question will be ‘How much have you given?’ not ‘How much have you gotten?’”
Engage in a ministry of prayer. Don’t just pray for your own temporal needs but for eternal progress in the work of God’s kingdom.
Leave a written testimony for your descendants. Many of us have prepared a legal will, but some people are also learning to prepare “legacy wills.” The idea comes from Genesis 49, when Jacob left his sons with his “spiritual estate.” He passed on his blessings, wisdom, and advice to his children. We can do the same.
A visiting American pastor was privileged to preach in the Calaba Baptist Church of Bombay, India, in 1941. That day, the church’s pastor baptized an Indian woman at the close of the service. The visiting American encouraged him after the service, saying, “Congratulations on the baptism of your convert tonight.”
“Ah,” said the preacher, “She’s not my convert. She’s Adoniram Judson’s convert.”
“Well,” he said, “that’s not possible. Adoniram Judson lived over a hundred years ago more than one thousand miles away from here. How could she be Adoniram Judson’s convert?”
“That’s true,” he said, “but the woman I baptized tonight fell into the company of some women from that city where Judson did so much suffering in the last century. These women are descendants of people who were influenced by the incomparable life and outstanding witness of Judson. The woman I baptized tonight fell into their company, and after a few days she herself became a believer. So you see, she’s Judson’s convert!”
Our days are numbered, and we’re moving quickly from today to tomorrow. All our pleasures and possessions are consigned to oblivion, but the legacy we leave for Christ will endure forever. “This one life will soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”
Let’s not waste a single day. Live with eternity in mind!