Your life has tremendous influence on future generations.
Consider: a 29-year-old should plan to live till 100, yet not expect to turn 30. If a young man lives each day as if it were his last, yet prepares for old age by investing in what might be, then he will be prepared whether he dies young or old.
This same mindset can be applied elsewhere.
Christians know that one day soon, Jesus Christ will return. His second coming is guaranteed in the Bible, a reality to be trusted if God’s Word is true. Growing up, I lived in a Christian culture that said: “the clock is at 11:58, perhaps 11:59, and Jesus will come back any day now!” Well he hasn’t yet, but those prophetic voices were right to express urgency, because he can come back any day. The Bible tells us to wake up, be alert, and be prepared for Christ’s return. We should be prepared for Jesus to return in 2018 — even later today. We should also prepare and plan for the church to endure past our lifetime for 100, 500, 10,000 years or more.
We have no guarantee that Jesus will return in the next 10,000 years, only that he will return. We know that his words “I am coming soon” meant 2,000 years, so why not another 10,000 years? Since God is eternally existent, we recognize that his time scale is relative. If a thousand years are as a day in his sight, then coming back 12 days later would be soon indeed, though 12,000 years seems a very long time to us.
If you understand the concept of compound interest, then you know that several hundred dollars today can become millions of dollars within a hundred years. This concept is transferable; history saw the church go from about five hundred people in Jesus’ day to the whole known world within a few hundred years.
If you’re a Christian, you may be considered a part of “the early church.” We refer to the Early Church Fathers as “early,” even though they only lived some 1,800 years ago, because of their relative proximity to the life of Christ on earth. In 10,000 years, we will be considered ancient. What’s to stop future generations from calling our church “early” or even “ancient?”
Are we preparing for a long wait? Are we investing well now? If you knew that a dollar saved today would be one million dollars later, wouldn’t that affect how you spend your money today? Wouldn’t you save and scrape together every dollar if the payout would be so immense? If each dollar was of incredible value, you would treat every dollar with respect and consideration.
This same truth applies to our investment in the lives of others. The influence of one person now will echo and multiply throughout the ages. Imagine that in your lifetime, you help two people to know, love, and follow Jesus — the process we call “discipling.” What happens when those two disciple two more, then those four disciple eight, and those eight sixteen, and on and on? Before long, your influence and your faithful witness has affected the lives of millions.
But you’ll never know those millions, which makes this just an interesting thought experiment, right? No, it isn’t. Don’t you realize that one day, everyone who knows and loves Jesus is headed to the same city, to the New Jerusalem? Who’s to say you won’t meet someone born in the year 8990 A.D. who was influenced by the time you spent building into someone today? Besides, your life was changed by the faithful witness of the early church. Sure, our lives are short and our imaginations are weak, but this doesn’t diminish the tremendous potency of your influence.
Consider that in your life, you follow Jesus and make one other disciple. What’s to keep that disciple from making other disciples, who make disciples, who make disciples, until an entire city’s worth of people know and love Jesus because of your faithfulness? Don’t stop there. A whole nation could be transformed by the influence of your life. But keep going, let’s carry this idea to its fullest extent. If humanity continues in this cosmos for millennia and populates other planets and even star systems, then billions of people, in nations across worlds, might know Christ and worship him forever because today, you followed Christ and were faithful with the little that he entrusted to you.
This life — your life — has the potential for unimaginable influence. Don’t be deceived. Live in the reality that your life matters and act accordingly.
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