Greater Than

Our pastor used a great word picture a couple weeks ago in service that really made me think about how we live our lives. He asked two young students to contrast several ideas using the symbols for “greater than” and “less than”. The first few were simple. “$5 or $25,” or “1 hour or 3 hours.” But then the difficulty increased, culminating in the comparison of “now and later.” One of the students quickly answered “now.”

And at first glance it seems like “now” is greater than “later,” because now is guaranteed. At least that is what our culture teaches. Think of all the cliches that suggest this value: “Just do it,” and “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” and “If it feels good do it,” not to mention, “Carpe diem,” and “Live in the moment.” While a few of these favorite sayings do have some merit, the overall idea of our culture has become one that demands pleasure, success, and security in the “now.”

A Biblical view would argue a different value system,for one simple reason: as believers our “later” is guaranteed. We are waiting for a city, “whose foundation is the Lord.” Not only is our “later” guaranteed; it is of infinite value. One day, our “later” will become our “now” and our investment in that day will matter infinitely more than anything we have experienced in the moment.

Paul said, “I press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  That “high calling” is a call to invest in the “later” rather than the “now.”  God’s plan for me is that I live right now, in a way that will glorify Him for eternity. The “now” is not unimportant; it is simply a segue to the “later.”  Now is temporal; later is eternal. It is what our entire expectation as believers is set upon.

Still sometimes I live like “now” is all that matters. I expect God to meet me in the moment and provide the happiness, security, and success that will fulfill me.  I am painfully shortsighted when I imagine anything in this life is capable of fulfilling me. That desire for fulfillment should point me to the “later.” It should remind me that my deepest needs are already met perfectly in Christ and that one day in the “later” I will live eternally experiencing that fulfillment.

One Response to "Greater Than"

  • I love this perspective on “now” and “later”… much food for thought!

    1 Joy said this (January 8, 2013 at 7:52 am) Reply

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