DISCLAIMER: The following post is based heavily upon my Christian values and beliefs. If you disagree with this, please do so respectfully and graciously, or your comment will be deleted! Also, just because I say something “doesn’t matter” in eternity, doesn’t mean I don’t care about it at all, or that it doesn’t have its place in our lives.
This is a kind of Part 2 on my last post about cultivating an eternal perspective on life. This post is to help people cultivate that eternal perspective and by doing so enjoy and treasure life more. I will also be adding WHY something matters or doesn’t in eternity.
What matters in Eternity:
1) How you treated God: The number one thing that will matter in eternity is how you treated God. Was He just a genie in the bottle that had to grant your every wish for you, or was He the omnipotent, amazing, loving, worthy-of-worship God to you? This is a question every human being must answer, not only with their words, but in how they live their lives. Your relationship (or lack thereof) will determine (I believe) where you will spend the rest of eternity. If you feel you need to make things right with God today, please do so! I would not only pray the “sinner’s prayer,” but resolve in your heart that you are really going to follow Him wholeheartedly and without abandon. Yes, there are times when we all are going to fail at that, but if you are sincere and repentant of that, God will forgive you and love you all the way through it. You will find that God is worthy of everything you are and have that is good!
2) How you treated others: The other big thing that will matter in eternity is how you treated others. Did you treat other people with sacrificial kindness and care, or did you ignore or abuse them? After you die, God and other people will not just remember how you treated your loved ones or ones that were your friends, but also your enemies, people that were difficult to get along with, and the hurting and downtrodden that couldn’t really pay you back for all the kindness (or lack thereof) you bestowed upon them. It says in Matthew 25:31-46 (ESV):
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
So, do good to others, even when they won’t or can’t “pay” you back. You will reap great rewards in heaven if you do, because whatsoever you do to who Jesus calls, “the least of these,” you are doing to Him too. Don’t weary of doing good.
Things that won’t matter in eternity
- How you look like–No, your physical appearance will not matter at all in eternity. Have you ever been to a funeral where people have said to you, “Oh, your Aunt Etna (apologies to anyone who actually does have an aunt by that name; I don’t mean her) was so fat. How much did she eat? ” Of course not! Things people will more likely say: “Oh, your Aunt Etna was such a kind, generous person! I wish I could be more like her.” OR “Poor Etna. She was so sad and didn’t have any friends. I wish I could have been there for her more.” It won’t matter the color of your skin, whether you were fat or thin, how beautiful or ugly you looked like to other people, or even if you had any deformities or scars (unless someone hurt you, and the police are investigating them). So, in light of this, I fail to understand why some people spend so much money on their physical appearance! Yes, you should take care of your physical body God gave to you (It says in the Bible that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.), but you shouldn’t obsess over it!
- How much money you have—I understand that we need money now to live and to enjoy things. I get that. However, if one is constantly worrying about money or how to obtain it, or is stealing money from others just in an attempt to get more, this is really a fruitless way to live because I believe there will be no need of money in the afterlife. Also, you can’t take your earthly money with you as an “investment” in the afterlife. It’s impossible. Better to be generous with the money God gave you than to steal or swindle it. Better to be at peace with what income God has given you, than to be constantly worried about it. It’s understandable though if you are worried about money because you don’t know where your next meal is coming from. However, try to trust God with that too, because He will provide somehow.
- How many things you have—-Connected to that, getting more things will not guarantee eternal life! It won’t matter how many or how few things you have, because you are going to lose it all after you die anyway because you will have to leave all of it behind. No, you really don’t have to keep up with the Joneses! And just like everyone else, the Joneses also will have to leave their material things behind when they die, so will their children when they (the children) die. So, how can you make your “stuff” matter in eternity? Simple. Be willing to share and give away (I admit that I am working on that still, but it’s a process for me). What will be remembered is not the stuff you shared or gave away, but the impact that you had on people when you gave it away or shared the stuff.
- How smart you are—Unfortunately, intellect will not matter in eternity either. For instance, if you have a lot of knowledge and still choose to sin and/or reject God’s love for you, you still would have to live with the consequences of that no matter how “smart” you were or claimed to be! That is not to say we shouldn’t keep learning and gain knowledge, but gaining knowledge and intellect shouldn’t be an end to itself either! Gaining knowledge and intellect should be a way to glorify God and to minister to others’ needs.
So, equipped with the knowledge of what matters and what doesn’t in eternity, you (and I, too) will hopefully find this helpful to focus on eternity more and less on the temporal stuff and “cares of this world” that don’t matter as much in the light of eternity. Let’s make a difference for eternity today!