A few weeks ago, Todd and I read James 5 and it was one of those moments I felt like everything in the world fell silent except the voice of my husband reading, “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten…You have laid up treasure in the last days…You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.”
Weeks later, I can’t stop thinking about that last line—you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. Goodness. Stop and really think about that. How easy is it to forget that the entirety of our lives on earth is short as a breath?
Take a breath, right now.
I’m serious. Inhale. Exhale.
That is your life. That is my life.
Then, after a breath, all of us will be catapulted into eternity, where there is infinite time to explore and create and enjoy. Where everyone has a seat at the same table. Where all people matter and nobody is excluded. Where everyone is accepted and valued and invited to the party. Everyone will flourish in their gifts and we will experience Him with greater clarity than is possible to imagine. Free to be ourselves. Free to love without fear of getting hurt.
Still I find myself scrambling around like a mouse chasing after cheese, trying to advance my own name, padding my bank account in an effort to feel secure, vying for acceptance and comfort and status. But this life isn’t meant to be marked by self-indulgence. It’s meant to be marked by selflessness and humility and a radical giving away of myself.
But it’s only possible to live that way if I really, truly believe the next eighty-something years are simply an introduction to an eternity with Him. If I don’t believe that truth in the deepest parts of me, I will live as if I have nothing better coming for me. I will trample over others to get what I want. I will beg for immediate vindication. I will self-indulge, no matter the effects it has on other people. I will lay up heaps of treasure in the last days. I will fatten myself in a day of slaughter.
My prayer has not been for God to make me less self-indulgent or consumeristic, although I hope those qualities mark my life. But my prayer has been that God will increase my faith and anticipation in the promise of eternity. That my end-goal will not be a comfortable life with healthy kids and a nice house outside the city. That my end-goal will be spending forever with him. That I will be so captivated with the reward of heaven, I will gladly lay down every privilege and luxury in this life because I know the joy that awaits me.
I really don’t know where this post came from, or why I’ve gotten all David Platt on you, but if you felt yourself thinking, “Me too!” at any point during this post, I would encourage you to stop and pray for God to give you new perspective on your life. Are you living for what actually matters? Are you mindlessly following the pattern of life set up for you by your parents or socio-economic class or your church or neighborhood? Or are you paying attention to how God is asking you to live?
He is trying to grab your attention in some way or another, no doubt. Every breath you take is a reminder of the brevity of life. Every inhale, a bid to lay your life down for the sake of His Kingdom. Every exhale, a flickering promise that eternity is coming.