Does your eternity change anything?

 
Carl Laferton | February 3rd 2014

I think about the future a lot. Just not the right bit of it.

I look forward to the weekend; to a drink with a friend; to a summer holiday involving a lie-in and a beach.

And, because I look forward to those things, they affect how I feel and act in the present. Think back to the week before you last went on a great holiday. I’ll bet work problems seemed smaller, irritating people seemed less irritating, tiredness seemed easier to cope with. You had a little skip in your heart, despite the usual issues of day-to-day life. Why? Because soon, you’d be on holiday. You weren’t there yet, but knowing it lay in your future changed your present.

Weekends, seeing friends, holidays… we think about those things a lot.

How much do you think about eternity? How much does your future in 200 years affect your day right now?

If you’re anything like me, the answer’s: not much. Maybe it’s because our view of eternity is shaped more by cultural misconceptions (angels plucking hearts, each of us sitting on clouds, and day after day of boredom stretching out). Maybe it’s because we’re not actually convinced that it’ll really happen, that it’s any more than pie in the sky (though, come to think of it, sitting on a cloud eating pie eternally sounds good). Maybe it’s because we’re not confident that when we reach the entrance, we’ll really be allowed in.

And that means we’re missing out — missing out on joy and confidence and hope and patience in our here and now, both when things are going well and when they’re going badly. Because, once we grasp where we’re headed, eternity changes everything.

That (not so coincidentally) is the name of a book we’re publishing this week. Eternity Changes Everything is the newest title in the How to… series, looking at parts of the Christian life that many Christians find a struggle without really noticing that they’re struggling. Written by Stephen Witmer, a pastor in Massachusetts, it’s:

  • short — it weighs in at 117 pages
  • exciting — Stephen gives us a great vision of what the Christian’s eternity is going to be like
  • transforming — the second half of the book shows how keeping our view of eternity as we go about our day will change our attitudes and actions

What grabbed me when we were considering publishing the book was this idea, that Stephen lays out in his introduction:

“We find ourselves focusing on now, even though we have a vague sense that eternity might be more important … the future matters. Eternity changes everything.”

I need to think far more about my future beyond this weekend and my next holiday; and work to let it change my present. I’m guessing you do, too. In which case, this is a book for you.

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Carl Laferton

Carl Laferton is Editorial Director at TGBC. He is author of Original Jesus, Promises Kept and The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross and series editor of the God's Word For You series. Before joining TGBC, he worked as a journalist, a teacher, and pastored a congregation in Hull. Carl is married to Lizzie and they have two children, Benjamin and Abigail. He studied history at Oxford University.