Living in Light of Eternity
Are you ready to reprioritize your life in light of eternity?
One of the most difficult things about being exhausted…is you’re too exhausted to, well, stop being exhausted.
It’s like, lying in bed in the morning…
Your alarm goes off…
But you’re still exhausted.
You know you should do something about it…
You need to get to work…
But you’re too exhausted to do something about your exhaustion.
If you had the energy to fix it, you wouldn’t still be lying in bed!
And that’s a good summary of our lives sometimes.
And yet, as we said last week, if we’re going to walk out of exhaustion…
…at some point, we need to press the pause button on life…and start asking the bigger questions:
Like, “What am I really living for?”
And, “Are these things that are exhausting me actually worth living for?”
Today, we’re going to start getting into the details of how you can begin to re-prioritize your life…and, as a result, live in rest, not exhaustion.
Life in 2019 is not easy.
We go, go, go…from one thing to the next.
From work, to work again, to activities, to school…
And nowadays, unlike even just 30 years ago, every spare moment is filled in with technology.
If you were to track every minute of your day…one of the things that might surprise you is how many “spare minutes” you really have...and then, how we actually fill those spare moments.
Do you know what people used to do when they walked out to their car?
They walked out to their car.
Now we walk and look…
Do you know what people used to do at a stop light?
Nothing. They just stopped.
Now, even if people have 5 seconds, they reach for their phones.
Do you know what people used to do while they ate dinner?
Talked to each other.
Now, over 40% of parents say that devices are a major problem at their dinner table.
Do you know what people used to do in the bathroom?
Especially since the invention of the smartphone in 2007, we’ve begun to fill up every spare moment…
And thus, our brains, our bodies…never actually calm down…and rest.
And we don’t have “time” (or at least we say that we don’t) for the things that really matter.
And many of us having been living this way for years now…
And if we were totally honest, we don’t love it.
And I think one of the reasons we get stuck in this exhausting trend is because we don’t have a defined PURPOSE for our lives.
PARENTING IN LIGHT OF ETERNITY
But thankfully, the Bible gives us a purpose fo rlife.
Let’s take a look together:
In the Old Testament, which is the first half of the Bible…
Moses has led the Israelites out of Egypt, and they’re about to enter the promised land.
But before they get there, he tells them that he’s worried that once they get in there, they’ll forget about God
(Deuteronomy 6:10-12) – NIV
10 When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
Moses is saying, because you’re going to be so blessed with all of these things in the promised land, there’s a chance that your affluence will lead to amnesia.
And you’ll forget what life is truly about…because you’ll be distracted by all of your “things”
And I fear that is us as Americans
And so just before that warning, he tells them how they can avoid that…how they can make sure they have the right purpose for their life
(Deuteronomy 6:4-9) - NIV
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Moses says that our purpose is to KNOW and LOVE God.
And for those of you that are parents, your purpose is to KNOW and LOVE God, and then pass that knowledge and love down to your children…
It sounds really good…maybe sounds even right to you…
But it’s hard to do.
This philosophy is what I would call “Living in light of eternity”
But most of us tend to “live in light of what’s right in front of us…
Our careers, for money, to be liked
And so our focus tends to be on the here and now.
If you’re a parent, we tend to usually “Parent in light of…what’s right in front of us”
“I’ve got to teach my preschooler to LISTEN!”
“I’ve got to help my kid prepare for the next test, the next game”
“I’ve got to help my high schooler get into the right college!”
Let me tell you, one of the best things you can do is “press pause on your life” and ask, “What is my purpose?”
For those of you with families, you should ask, “What would an objective observer of my family say that my main goal is in parenting?”
For many of they would probably answer that it looks like our main purpose is to make sure our kids do well in sports, in school, in their career...
And those are nice things, but if that’s your PURPOSE in parenting, it’s actually a short-sighted purpose
Because remember, we’re only on this earth for a blink of an eye, and then we’ll be somewhere else for the rest of eternity.
Parents, let me ask you a question: If your child gets into Harvard, and eventually is the CEO of some company…but doesn’t follow Jesus, will you be happy?
It’s only in Jesus that our kids will find the fulfillment their hearts crave…
It’s only in Jesus will they find forgiveness, and truth, and an eternity in heaven.
By believing that Jesus Christ died on the cross for their sins…and by following Him.
And thus, we must even parent, “in light of eternity.”
We want to do everything we can to foster an environment where our kids can, (as Moses said in our passage), love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and strength.
And so parents, IF, you want your primary parenting purpose to be helping your children KNOW & LOVE God…
How do you need to restructure your life? Their lives?
This is a hard question…
But if you can begin to restructure your lives around this Biblical teaching, you’ll find that not only is it much more fulfilling…but it actually leads to a lost less exhaustion as well
This all begins with intentional re-prioritizing
Let me explain what I mean with an old, helpful illustration:
(Put Large Empty Container on Table on Stage)
(Begin to fill empty jar to the top with tennis balls)
Is this jar full?
Well, not quite.
(Pour a box of pebbles into jar and pebbles go in between the areas between the tennis balls)
Okay, now is it full?
Well, not quite
(pour a box of sand into the jar)
All right, now we’re full.
Well, not quite.
(pour water into the jar)
The jar is your life.
The tennis balls represent the important things.
The things that will matter for all of eternity.
Your relationship with Jesus
Learning God’s Word, the Bible
The pebbles…are important too…but maybe 2nd in line
Your family…spending quality time with friends…
But the sand…that’s like all the busyness…all the activities we fill up our lives with…
Things that won’t even matter 10 years from now…let alone 1,000 years.
And the water…
Those are just the spare moments, the tiny cracks in our lives that…well, in 2019, most of us just fill with our phones…with technology.
But the problem is, for most Americans nowadays…we’re starting with the sand and water….OUR PRIORITIES ARE BACKWARDS.
We fill hours of our lives with sports knowledge, and with what Instagram tells us our friends ate for lunch, and 50 hours a week of entertainment.
And so, because we haven’t thought critically about what our purpose in life is, many Americans START by filling our jar with sand and water
And you can see that if this was all full of water…and then I tried to bring in something really important… like God…or more quality time with your family.
It wouldn’t fit…it would just spill out..
And that’s exactly why so many of Americans haven’t truly sought out God…even though they’re interested in Him.
It just feels like we don’t have the time to go on that kind of search…our lives are already full of other stuff.
We’re exhausted already!
But we’re exhausted because we’ve prioritized the wrong things.
But if you fill it with the RIGHT things first…you’ll have room for the other things.
One of the best things you can do is sit down this week…
And say, “If my first priority is to know and love God…what does that mean for how I spend my time?”
And if you have kids, “What does it mean for how they spend theirs?”
PUTTING TECHNOLOGY IN ITS PLACE
But if you actually start to reschedule your life by giving priority to the important things first, I must warn you, you’re going to have to dare to be different.
You won’t end up looking like most people in our culture.
Because most Americans fill their hours every day with sand and water
BUT, I can assure you that you will have significantly more rest and peace than they will…if you “put the first things first”
I don’t have time to talk about BOTH sand and water this morning…
So I’m going to talk about the technology piece this morning… (the water)
And then, in our House Groups this week, we’re going to cover the activities/busyness piece (the sand)…particularly in how it relates to kids.
So make sure you get to your House Group this week.
If you’re not in one yet, you can sign up in the hallway…
There are just two weeks left…but you could always test it out
Before we dive into this technology piece, let me first say that technology (our phones, our tablets, our TV’s) are not inherently bad.
They can be used for great good!
But we must put them in their proper place.
As we’ve said, you can’t add in the tennis balls (the spiritual, the eternal things) if your jar is already full of water.
And so maybe you want to take a summer class at Renovation U this year (which sign-ups for our 5 classes start next week)…
Or maybe you’ve been thinking about volunteering, or reading the Bible …or maybe it’s just simply making this a new habit for your family and coming to church every week (this is tennis-ball-type stuff)
But so often our response is, “I just don’t know if I could…I’m so-crazy-busy.” I’m exhausted.
But for most people, their iPhone screen time report says their spending 4+ hours A DAY on their phones. A DAY.
If jar is full of water, you won’t have room for what life is really about!
So how can you begin to put technology in its proper place?
How can you begin to master it, instead of letting it master you?
I want to give you a number of principles and ideas today…particularly related to this technology piece.
A few of these are from a phenomenal book I read, that I want to HIGHLY recommend to you
(Tech Wise Family Image)
It’s call the Tech-Wise Family by Andy Crouch
Take a picture of this, write this down.
In this book, Andy Crouch lays out 10 Tech-Wise Commitments
And I want to share a few of them with you.
One of his Commitments is this:
“We use screens for a purpose, and we use them together, rather than using then aimlessly and alone.”
As we said last week, when we each go off into our own areas of the house, and try and “rest” with our devices…our bodies don’t actually REST
And when families do this…we miss out on the opportunity to engage with each other.
What would it look like to begin curtailing the isolated use of devices in your house?
Yes, use technology, but use it for good, in its proper place.
Technology can be great for FaceTiming a relative, researching a fact you’re all curious about on Wikipedia, learning how to build something together from a YouTube video.
But let’s be honest, most of what we use it for is mindless scrolling and entertainment.
And we’re doing so, for hours at a time, every day, and we’re missing what God has for us (cuz our jars are full).
Our kids are missing out on valuable time and conversations with us because…BOTH of us are addicted to their screens.
Even us as adults.
It’s like the mom who tracked that her toddlers looked at her 28 times/hour
And every hour she was on her phone, was another 28 times she missed interacting with them…
That she chose (this) over them.
And those moments, when they look to us…are moments where we can shape our kids to live out their purpose as well.
But we can’t do that when our lives our full of sand and water.
Do you remember, earlier, when Moses said our purpose is to KNOW and LOVE God.
And HOW does he say we should let this trickle down to our children?
(Deuteronomy 6:7-9) - NIV
7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
I LOVE this passage.
Because it’s a beautiful combination of ROUTINE and SPONTANEITY
Moses says, find ways to talk to your kids about God when you lie down, and when you get up
That implies routine…schedule.
It implies prioritization.
That, because you’re parenting in light of eternity (not just earthly success and technological distraction), that you prioritize the TENNIS BALLS… knowing and loving God above all things.
So coming to church becomes a priority…even if it’s something you haven’t done in years
Come here…I’m telling you…a good chunk of the people here…didn’t go to church even 2 years ago.
You’d fit right in.
This is a different sort of place!
For those of you that have been here for a while, and you have been following Christ…
For you, maybe your next step is reading the Bible with your kids every day.
We’ve done this with our kids since they basically came out of the womb.
It’s part of our bedtime routine
Brush teeth, books, Bible, Bed (and stay in there! )
Get a great kids Bible like:
The Jesus Story book Bible
Read and Share Bible
My personal favorite for kids.
If your kids are older, just a read a regular Bible with them…
Be humble…say, “I don’t know anything about this…let’s do it together”
Use one of our Bible reading plans from the hallway
And do you know what’s so great about putting your devices away and establishing this routine?
Your kids then begin to naturally ask spiritual questions.
When you read, they’ll stop and ask you questions:
And they’ll blow you away.
And before you know it…they’ll start to ask questions about God at random times.
This is what Moses is talking about when he says, “talk about it when you sit at home and walking along the road.
This is the SPONTANEOUS part.
This is a principle that’s important to learn…
Routine Leads to Spontaneity
When you make God a “tennis ball priority” in your routine, He starts to become a natural part of your conversation.
But remember, we have to make space...both for the routine and the spontaneous
One of Andy Crouch’s tech-wise commitments is:
Car Time is Conversation Time
And in their family, they ban devices at the dinner table…and in the car.
Some of your best, and most spiritual, and deepest conversations ever will come on the car ride to Walmart…or school…or wherever.
But remember, if you’re filling your life with water first…(and everybody’s on their phone) there’s no space for these things to happen.
Moses says, talk about it when you walk along the road…
We don’t do that anymore, but we sure DRIVE along the road.
Make space for it.
When you purposefully decide to put the “tennis balls in first,” and you put technology in its proper place…
You’ll have ROOM for God to start to really work in your life
WHAT CAN HAPPEN
In January 2007, a young man dressed in a long sleeve t-shirt, jeans, and a baseball cap…walked over to a popular train station in Washington DC, and began to play his violin.
He performed 6 classical pieces in 43 minutes, during which 1,097 people walked by him
Only SEVEN of those 1,097 people stopped for any length of time to listen to him. Seven.
Turns out, it was a social experiment, conducted by a local magazine.
The violinist was the renowned virtuoso Joshua Bell, who was performing on his 3.5 million dollar violin built in the year 1713.
People would have paid thousands of dollars to hear this in concert.
7 out of 1,097 people stopped.
Let me tell you something: the God of the Universe wants you to know Him and Know His love…
And what He wants to say to you and do in your life…is of incalculable worth!
But most of us…have been too busy to notice.
Our lives are full of sand and water.
Our schedules are bogged down in activities…and our heads are buried in our devices,
And we walk right past Him.
And we’re missing what He has for us.
Don’t miss it any longer.
Put Him first.
You’ll never regret it.
Let me pray.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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