So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what
is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. II Cor. 4:18
Up until about four years ago, I had managed to get by without glasses, in spite of pushing the half-century mark. Then one day I noticed that, apparently, they had made the numbers on my new credit card smaller than ever and that the fat content on that package of cookies I was jonesing for was printed in what had to be the smallest type in North America.
And so it began. I didn’t need those cookies, but I sure needed glasses.
I suppose you could say that I was doing a great job of following II Corinthians 4:18, for there was no way I was going to be able to fix my eyes on anything without glasses.
In spite of all this talk about my vision, it’s important to note that this verse isn’t referring to seeing or sight. Paul is telling the Christians at Corinth (and us, as well) that we shouldn’t let our current hard times or challenges be our primary focus; after all, they’re just temporary, a short-term annoyance. The things that are to come – God’s promises of our life after this one – are the prize.
The acclaimed Christian apologist, Dr. Norman Geisler, posits that, although there is only one correct interpretation of a passage of scripture, there can be many applications. So in letting God speak to me through His Holy Spirit, I took a very personal application away from this verse; specifically, that I should be focusing my time, energy, and resources on what will matter when my time on this earth is finished instead of what won’t.
Until I became a Christian and God fitted me for a pair of “spiritual glasses”, I spent all my time focusing on acquiring the latest electronics or buying things for my house. Now don’t get me wrong – it’s fine to make home improvements; but when they come at the expense of making improvements in the hearts and lives of others, then the balance becomes really skewed – and not in the desired direction.
Using the financial resources God has given me for eternal purposes is not the only thing I have to be careful about – I have to watch how I use my time as well. For example, although I was the last holdout in my social set to succumb to the Siren song of Facebook, once I made the leap I dove in head first. Again, there is nothing wrong with keeping up with those you love online; there are some old friends who I only know how to connect with on Facebook. And no doubt someone is reading this post because you saw a link on Facebook, so there are some wonderful benefits of social media. But it’s about spending the right amount of time. Sitting for hours making funny comments about people’s pets or even “liking” the Bible verse or link to a Christian video someone posted shouldn’t take the place of actually reading the Bible or having prayer time.
I would like to say that I don’t struggle with finding that balance anymore – but it wouldn’t be much good having a blog about my spiritual life if I wasn’t totally honest with you. For example, I still have to purposely make the decision to send a check to my dear evangelist friend who preaches all over North America, Guatemala, and the Philippines to help support his ministry instead of buying a new iPad. (I promise I would absolutely download a Bible app first thing; however, I can also continue to use the printed Bible I have. After all, it’s a good exercise trying to locate Obadiah before the pastor actually finishes the sermon.)
I also have to make myself stop wasting time online when I need to spend time in prayer or focus on writing for “clay”. Otherwise, I’ll keep playing “Luxor” or “Betty White Flipout”, this new game I recently discovered on the AARP website. (As you can imagine, it’s a hoot – plus, it features Betty White…) Good for exercising my aging brain, but not really ideal for tipping the scales toward eternity, you know what I mean?
So to recap…
- New kitchen cabinets? Temporary. Supporting a young person to go on a mission trip? Eternal.
- Fantasy football league? Temporary. Spending a Saturday morning painting one of the dorms at the children’s home? Eternal.
- Getting in line with a thousand of your closest friends at midnight to see the latest Twilight or Harry Potter movie? Temporary. Getting alone with God and His word? You know the answer to that, right?
Or is it time to get your spiritual eyes checked…?