Eternity: Chew on this for a minute
From soldout LIFE
Imagine for a moment that this line represents the timeline of your existence. It starts in the upper left corner at the beginning of the blue part when you were born. As time goes on, you move along this line, and the blue part – that short little blue part – represents your life here on earth. This life. Now. The end of the blue part, when it turns green, represents the moment that you die and enter into eternity – something each one of us will do at some point in time. Instead of ending, however, the green part – eternity – goes on forever and ever. Just imagine that instead of ending at the bottom, it simply continues for eternity. Are you still with me?
So what’s the big deal? What’s interesting about this, and counter-intuitive even, is that many (most?) of us spend the vast majority of our time thinking about the short little blue part. We plan our vacations and our time off; we make plans for how we will spend our leisure time; we worry about tomorrow pretty much every single day. And our heads, if we’re being honest, are almost entirely in that little blue part. In fact, if truth were known, it’s not just the blue part that we focus on, but many of us tend to spend an awfully large amount of time thinking about the last little sliver of the blue part, which we call retirement. Our thought process goes something like this: “I’m going to work as hard as possible so that I can really enjoy that little sliver of blue at the end of the already very short blue part that I don’t even really know if I’m going to be here for. I’m going to spend perhaps even a majority of my time planning, preparing for, worrying about, and thinking about, at some level, the last little sliver of blue and not think hardly at all about that long green part.” Think about this for a moment. This really makes no sense whatsoever, and yet this is the absolute truth for the vast majority of people in America.
And so here’s my question: Which are you focused on? The short little blue part? Or the long, never-ending green part? Honestly. If you are focused entirely on the blue part – and I don’t say this with any judgment – you are missing your purpose in life. The truth is that what we do in the blue part determines what happens in the green part. In fact, not only that, but what we do in the blue part has an impact on what happens in the green part for other people, as well. There is purpose to your existence. John 1:1 gives us a huge hint into what this purpose is, and bear with me even if you think you know this:
John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The apostle John wrote that at a time when the philosophers were heavily pondering the purpose of our existence and the reason for life. What is the purpose of our existence? Why do you do what you do? Why are you here, etc.? And many of them had concluded that life was actually meaningless – that beyond the pursuit of pleasure in the now, there was no meaning. The green part really doesn’t exist for us because we simply cease to exist when we die. And without God, this really is the only conclusion. If we really are just a bunch of molecules bumping into one another, molecules who have simply gathered together in such a way that we are able to think and make decisions, who’s to say who is right and who is wrong? There is no lasting purpose to our lives, so the answer to the question “Why?” is “There is no why!!!” And the Greek philosophers loved this stuff; they prided themselves on their ability to reason and debate and to draw logical conclusions. And this logic, this meaninglessness, in part, led to the hedonistic lifestyle that many Greeks participated in.
Living for pleasure, living for self. “If it feels good do it!” Right!? If this is all there is, then this makes perfect sense! The pursuit of pleasure in the here and now is the natural response to a meaningless life, and we see that happening in our society both inside the church and outside unfortunately. And as the gospel writer John wrote these words, he was writing in Greek, and the Greek word translated as “word” in most of our bibles (as in “In the beginning, was the Word…”), while certainly a good translation, really is an incomplete translation. In Greek, this word is “logos” which had much greater meaning and implication than the simple word “word” as in English. The word for “word” as in a grammatical sense, as in the word “blog” or the word “table” would have been “lexis,” not “logos. But John specifically and purposely didn’t use the word “lexis,” he used the word “logos,” and “logos” means far more than a “word.” In fact, it commonly meant “reason”, or “plan. “Logos” was a technical term used in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus, who used the term for a principle of order and knowledge. The sophists, who, if you study Corinthian history, were very influential to many people in the Corinthian church – they used the term to mean “discourse”. Aristotle applied the term to refer to “reasoned discourse” or “the argument” in the field of rhetoric. And the Apostle John uses that word – logos – that we translate as “word” and in doing so he says in the beginning of his gospel that the reason, the purpose, the premise, for our existence and for our life existed in the beginning. “The REASON WAS WITH GOD and the REASON WAS GOD.”
What John says is this: All you philosophers, all of you intellects, all of you who are sophisticated in your knowledge – that thing you’ve been so desperately searching for, that thing you’ve concluded doesn’t exist, this thing we call “purpose” is not found in your human logic, it’s not found in the meaningless pursuit of pleasure, it’s not found in deep, philosophical arguments; rather, it’s found in something else: it’s found in a person named Jesus Christ who is the son of man and of God and the purpose for your existence is found in HIM!
And this wording was absolutely loaded and aimed at these people when he said that. Because these people did not have an answer for the question “why”, just like many of us perhaps don’t, even though we’re Christians. But John said “he is the reason for everything.” And so before we can understand what this life is about, we need to get this: that our purpose is found in him, and that he is the reason for our existence, and that he is our foundation.
Jesus came for many reasons, including, of course, the greatest reason: to voluntarily offer himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, and to save our souls through faith in him. But Jesus came for other reasons, as well: He came to teach people how to live during the blue part, to provide a role model for his church in this life, and to start a movement that would ultimately spread around the entire globe and fundamentally impact the course of history. This movement would consist of people who trust and follow him to the ends of the earth to spread his awesome message of hope and love in an increasingly dark world. He came to give purpose to that blue part in each one of our lives. The question is: are you living in it? Think about it. Chew on that for a moment – and I bet there is someone else that needs to hear about this. Go ahead, share it with them.