For a child, there are few things more evocative than a visit to grandmother’s house. In my early years, the trips to see Grandma in Clovis, New Mexico stand out as some of my most memorable experiences. Her house was large and beautiful, sitting on the corner of a charming tree-lined street. The kitchen was warm and inviting. The meals were always so delicious. Each room was decorated attractively and filled with memories. This was the home where my dad grew up and where my grandfather died before I was born.
There are certain places from our childhood that seem to stick with us with unusual impact. For whatever reason, this home has been one of those places. I think of it often. I dream about it on occasion, even decades later. Those visits were good days and it was a happy place.
A Disappointing Discovery
Some years ago, I spoke at a church in Clovis, New Mexico. I was so glad to be back. It was my first return since elementary school. Of course, one of my goals was to go see the home that has always loomed so large and somehow relive the moments.
To my dismay, it was nothing like I remembered. The home was deserted, boarded up, marked with graffiti, conspicuous with broken windows, and a mere shell of the home that was once such an icon of happiness in my life. As is always the case, it appeared much smaller than I remembered.
It just did not seem right that a place so connected to my heritage was now forsaken, forgotten, and on the verge of being condemned. I thought, “This is the house where my dad grew up. How could anyone let it get into this condition? How could people just neglect and disregard such a special home?”
A Lesson for This Short Life
At the same time, it hit me that this is a lesson for life. James’ words echoed in my head: “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). The experiences in that home, along with the people I made them with, are essentially forgotten in this world. My grandmother and parents are in heaven. The warm memories of those days are long gone, subject to the speed of life and the brevity of our visit on earth.
As I reflect on this experience, I am reminded of the adage I’ve heard and said so many times: “The only things that last forever are the Word of God and the souls of people.” Other than these two eternal realities, everything we see and experience right now will soon fade forever. As Paul noted, “We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
The only things that last forever are the Word of God and the souls of people. Other than these two eternal realities, everything we see and experience right now will soon fade forever.
Eternal Moments with Our Eternal God
The best response to our snapshots of the brevity and frailty of life is to embrace the Word of God as we enjoy timeless moments in communion with our eternal Savior. “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the LORD endures forever” (1 Peter 2:24-25). We are reminded of the difference between grass and gold. All our activities and the glory of our accomplishments are as grass. Time spent loving, absorbing, and sharing God’s Word is an investment of lasting value. Seeking intimacy and power in His presence is an engagement of eternal significance. The Apostle Peter affirms this when he writes, “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers” (1 Peter 4:7).
The best response to our snapshots of the brevity and frailty of life is to embrace the Word of God as we enjoy timeless moments in communion with our eternal Savior.
Time spent loving, absorbing, and sharing God’s Word is an investment of lasting value. Seeking intimacy and power in His presence is an engagement of eternal significance.
Eternal Moments for Eternal Souls
In that same passage, Peter reminds us of the value of souls as we consider the evaporation of time on this earth. He says, “The end of all things is at hand…above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’ Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
The summary of his words is that we should love the people God has placed in our lives, open our hearts to them in vital, positive relationship, and allow the power of the Spirit to use us to minister to their needs for God’s glory. This is a vital eternal investment today.
We should love the people God has placed in our lives, open our hearts to them in vital, positive relationship, and allow the power of the Spirit to use us to minister to their needs for God’s glory. This is a vital eternal investment today.
To learn more about a daily renewal process, that can guide you practically in the choices of an eternally significant life (one that Daniel Henderson has used for years), check out our resource The Deeper Life: Satisfying the 8 Vital Longings of the Soul.You can enjoy the book and even participate with others in a small group series.
Your Wise Investments
I heard recently that an inheritance is what we leave behind FOR people. A legacy is what we leave behind IN people. Every material treasure will ultimately disappear – even grandmother’s house. Every investment we make in God’s truth and the souls of people create a legacy that lasts forever.
Moses wrote, “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow…so teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:10-12). We all need the Lord’s grace to make the most of this life as we embrace His wisdom and make investments that will last forever.
Copyright © 2019 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.