In today’s generation there are few traps more bitter than the snare of overlooking the eternal essence of our temporal lives. Does that seem like a contradiction? How can something that is a temporal (or temporary) thing be eternal at the same time? The fact is that while life as we know it is temporary since our days in these vessels of clay are numbered, there is a part of us that endures beyond the demise of our physical frames.
This enduring part is what essentially makes us who we really are. It is our vital essence and happens to be the part of us about which God is the most passionate. He Himself is eternal and, of course, with an “eternal insight”, engages humanity in an urgency that is not primarily focused on our here and now, but upon the hereafter.
While we may not like to think about death and what comes after, God very much wants us to be thinking about that very subject. Consider Jesus’ remarks in Matthew 16:26, “what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?”
So here we are in what some might describe as the great contradiction of the Post-Modern era. On the one hand we maddeningly pursue high standards of living, distracted from the care of our souls and the business of preparing for our eternities. But on the other, no matter what we gain and in spite of all that we may possess, our souls still cry out, “Isn’t there anything more?”
It is important to note that this isn’t really a new dilemma. Hundreds of years before Jesus our Messiah spoke those words, the observation was made, “the ransom of a life is costly…. Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish” (Psalm 49:8, 20 ESV).
Do we have understanding today? Can we grasp the fact that if we have everything our hearts desire, we still have nothing if we do not have God? Can we absorb the truth that if we do not have all that our hearts desire, that a lifetime spent in trying to “get more” is a wasted and futile life if God isn’t what we’re trying to get more of?
The ransom for a soul is costly… so costly, in fact, that it is beyond price. Material possessions cannot compare with the worth of the soul. Nor is there any way in which we can “earn” the price of the ransom of our souls. In fact, our predicament would be a pretty sad one if it rested in our hands.
But it doesn’t. It rests in God’s hands. He alone has what it takes to ransom our eternal destinies. In giving us His perfect and sinless Son, Who willfully and lovingly took our place on the executioner’s cross, He paid perfectly the price of breaking the chains that bind us to the here-and-now and placed within our grasp the lifeline of His love that draws us into an eternity with Him.
So how does one begin the wonderful journey of eternity… even now while still here on earth? By simply receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord and surrendering to His Spirit’s daily guidance and empowerment. And why Jesus? Why not some other way that seems easier and less controversial?
Because our souls’ hunger can only be satisfied by Jesus. “All things have been committed to Me by My Father,” Jesus said. “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him. Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”” (Matthew 11:27-30 ESV).
Jesus is the way for satisfying your soul’s deepest longings. He is the means by which you can shed the weight of failure and hopelessness. He is the light which illuminates for us daily paths of purpose and meaning. He is the truth that our confused and disillusioned generation so desperately needs. He is the life for which we truly long.
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6 ESV).
(Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 24 ½ years, is the author of Led by Grace, The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com.” Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org).