Rewards are given to those who excel – medals, trophies, certificates, plaques. And rightly so for hard work, time, and resources have been poured into gaining them.
I was in high school; one particular semester, I made it to the honor roll. I can tell you that didn’t happen very often. And that’s a huge understatement. But that particular semester, I got a medal for getting second honor. But more significantly, when I got home, I got a very special chocolate cake from my mom. Those who know me, chocolate cakes are far more valuable for me than a medal.
Gains and achievements bring joy and fulfillment. While this is so, Paul challenges us to think long term and to view things from an eternal perspective.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21 (ESV)
For if to live is something else, then to die is a loss. “How can it be a loss?” you might say.
I’m glad you asked.
If to live is gaining wealth, then to die is a loss because we can’t bring anything to the next life.
If to live is succeeding in your career, then to die is a loss.
If to live is getting married, then to die is a loss.
If to live is purchasing your dream house, then to die is a loss.
But if to live is Christ, then to die is gain. How come?
Because this life isn’t all that there is.
What we sow in this life, we will reap in the next.
What we plant in this life, we will harvest in the next.
What we invest in this life will yield in the next.
Paul encourages us to keep our eyes not on what is seen but on that which is unseen. For what is seen is temporal but what is unseen is eternal.
Heavenly Father, thank You for this reminder. It is amazing how You re-calibrate my perspective through Your Word. It is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Teach me to keep my eyes on that which is of eternal value. May I never be swayed by temporal things. I will continue to excel wherever You position me – whether in the campus or the workplace so that I may give You glory. But internally, I will also remember to keep my eyes on You, the Author and Perfecter of my faith. Thank You for the glorious inheritance I have in Christ Jesus.
IN JESUS’ NAME. AMEN.