Our Hope vs God's Hope for Us
Let’s start with that question. What do we hope for? The politically correct answer would be, of course, we hope for eternal life. But do our lives actually reflect that?
Think about what we spend time doing, what we lose sleep over, what we spent years building towards. I’m sure many of you would agree that we’ve worked for a career, relationships of family based on the effort we put in.
But when it comes to placing all of our hope, all of our effort towards these things: money, comfort, family, these things, they’re great. But in the end, is that really what God desires for us to make every effort towards building?
Hope in Money and Fame
You’ll see examples in the world. Examples that question whether or not the things of the world ultimately satisfy us. You hear of lottery winners – those who make millions of dollars. Isn’t that all of our dream? Yet many of them end up becoming bankrupt again, having family problems, and even committing suicide. One of the most famous actors, Jim Carrey, once said this about money and fame: “I wish everyone could become rich and famous so that they could see that it is not the answer.”
So isn’t it so interesting that the things that we slave over don’t actually satisfy? If that’s the case, as we’re running hard on this hamster wheel, do we need to reassess what we’re investing in?
The Parable of the Rich Fool
In the Bible, it talks about someone who put in every effort to get rich and ended up getting rich. That’s the dream: retire a little bit early, enjoy the spoils, and then pass away in your sleep to enter heaven.
But in Luke 12, Jesus actually gives a warning to those who only build up treasure for themselves. Luke 12:13, the parable of the rich fool, says:
“Someone in the crowd said to him, teacher, told my brother to divide the inheritance with me. Jesus replied, ‘Man, who appointed me as a judge or an arbiter between you.’ Then he said to them, ‘Watch out, Be on your guard against all kinds of greed. A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.’
And he told them this parable, the ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, what shall I do, I have no place to store my crops.
Then he said, This is what I’ll do, I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones. And there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, you have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life, easy, eat, drink, and be married.
But God said to him, ‘You fool. this very night, your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself, but is not rich toward God.”
So what do we see here?
This man seems to have everything The only conclusion he can make is to eat, drink, take life easy, and be married. Doesn’t that sound like the American dream?
But the things that we hope for the things are temporary. So spending our entire lives us daydreaming only about these things wealth, money, fame. Is that the best investment of our time?
Or is the Bible trying to say to us that there is a more certain investment, there’s a better way. We should spend more time focusing on something that won’t betray us and ultimately disappear.
What We Should Seek Instead?
Let’s see what Jesus has to say about that in Matthew 6.
Jesus said to His disciples, “Therefore, I tell you do not worry about your life, what you will eat or your body what you will wear. Life is more than food and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens did not sow or reap. They have no storeroom or barn it God feeds them.
And how much more valuable you are than birds, who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing? Why do you worry about the rest? Do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink. Do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need that. But seek His kingdom. And these things will be given to you as well.”
Do I Seek for the Temporary or the Eternal Things?
These are words that are very easy to say Amen to. But just think about the course of a day. How much time do I think about what to eat? How much time do I think about what to wear? What to drink? How much time do I spend effort so I can make sure I know what my next meal is?
Compare that to how much time have I thought of have I sought after God’s kingdom. Am I someone who only prays things for my daily bread? When was the last time I prayed to seek after his kingdom?
So if we’ve been so focused on what to eat, what to drink what to wear, not just if I am going to eat steak or fish tonight. How about the time that Jesus asked for us to think about what’s actually important, the kingdom? This is something I hope that we can spend more time thinking about.
Unlike the rich fool who lost everything overnight, the kingdom is something that has to do with eternity. Don’t you think the Father who created our spirits, knows what will actually satisfy us?
The problem with wealth, fame, and money the things of this world is that they don’t fill that void. Matthew 13 describes wealth as deceitful. In Luke 12, all of that possession fades away.
Our Father's Desire to Give Us the Eternal Things
So when it comes to what we ought to focus on? Why not be a little curious about what God thinks is best for us. Let’s take a look at what it says in 1 Corinthians 2:9-11.
However, as it is written, what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived, the things that God has prepared for those who love Him. These are the things God has revealed to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
Doesn’t this make you a little bit curious? Money, we can see, we can touch, we can daydream. That’s partially why it’s so compelling. But what the Bible testifies is that God has prepared something so much more special. But are we willing to be curious about that? Are we willing to consider that? Or are we just going to trust that what the world has to offer is actually going to satisfy?
There’s an analogy that compared this concept to a young boy who likes playing in puddles. He lives in the inner city. He has the most fun when it rains, and there are potholes in the street and he gets to splash around in the puddles make a little bit of mud get a little bit wet.
The parent sees this. And as the parent witnesses how much the child enjoys playing in the water, what does the parent have in mind? “My child would love a trip to Hawaii, where the sand is pristine, the water is so warm, and you can swim in it.”
Wouldn’t you all agree that Hawaii is a much greater place to play than a puddle in the middle of the street? But the child was satisfied with playing in the mud.
For us who know the beauty of beaches, that would make no sense. But in the child’s perspective, they’re just clinging on to what they know.
In the same way, these options are presented to us as believers too. “Am I satisfied with the things that I already know disappoint so many people, yet I’m still working so hard for? Or am I willing to trust in the Lord and learn more about what he has in store, especially if he says no human mind can conceive the things that God has prepared for those who love Him?”
I hope we can give God a chance. Let’s take a look a little bit more about what exactly God is preparing. 1 John 2:16-17 says “For everything in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life comes not from the Father, but from the world. The world and its desires pass away. But whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
So just like we saw in the parable of the rich fool, the things of this world are all temporary. But someone who focuses on God’s kingdom will live forever.
The Value of Heaven and Eternal Life
Just take a moment to think, is life really important? Maybe not on a day-to-day basis. But if you’ve ever experienced losing a loved one, if you’ve ever been diagnosed with cancer, or if you’ve almost been in a fatal car crash: in those moments are you thinking about your salary? Are you thinking about getting an A and not a B on your test? No. When you’re faced with life and death, you recognize life is important. But I hope we don’t have to wait for those moments.
To recognize that what God is promising us is so much greater than anything money can buy. He is promising us eternal life. Eternal blessing. As a believer, we can make an investment to seek His kingdom that will pay off for eternity. Or we can choose to be short-sighted, continue to run on this hamster wheel, and be those who might get a few extra bucks.
But what about the rest of eternity? Let’s be those who make the educated, the informed, and the best decision. Let’s invest in the things that are not temporary, but what is eternal. And what God the Father knows will actually satisfy us.