LIFE IS A TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT
LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away. Psalm 39:4 (NLT)
I am here on earth for just a little while. Psalm 119:19 (TEV)
Life on earth is a temporary assignment. This is the continuation of the post seeing life from God’s view. Where we list we said that the Bible offers three metaphors that teach us God’s view of life: that life is a test, life is a trust, and life is a temporary assignment. We discussed the two former, and in this post we shall be focusing on life has a temporary assignment. The Bible is full of metaphors that teach about the brief, temporary, transient nature of life on earth.
To make the best use of your life, you must never forget two truths: First, compared with eternity, life is extremely brief. Second, earth is only a temporary residence. You won’t be here for long, so don’t get too attached. Repeatedly the Bible compares life on earth to temporarily living in a foreign country. This is not your permanent home or final destination. You’re just passing through, just visiting earth.
David said in Psalm 119:19, I am but a foreigner here on earth, and Peter explained, in 1 Peter 1:17, If you call God your father, live your time as temporary residents on earth. In California, many people have moved from other parts of the world to work there, but they keep their citizenship with their home country. They are required to carry a visitor registration card (called a “green card”), which allows them to work there even though they aren’t citizens. Christian should carry spiritual green cards to remind us that our citizenship is in heaven. God says his children should think differently about life from the way unbelievers do.
Real believers understand that there is far more to life than just the few years we live on this planet. When you flirt with the temptations of this world, God calls its spiritual adultery. The Bible says, You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his ways. James 4:4
Imagine if you were asked by your country to be an ambassador to an enemy nation. You would probably have to learn a new language and adapt to some customs and cultural differences in order to be polite and accomplish your mission. As an ambassador you would not be able to isolate yourself from the enemy. To fulfill your mission, you would have to have contact and relate to them.
But suppose you became so comfortable with this foreign country that you fell in love with it, preferring it to your homeland. Your loyalty and commitment would change. Your role as an ambassador would be compromised. Instead of representing your home country, you would start acting like the enemy. You’d be a traitor. The Bible says, we are Christ’s ambassador. Sadly, many Christians have betrayed their King and his kingdom. They have foolishly concluded that because they live on earth, it’s their home. It is not.
Only as we remember that life is a test, a trust, and a temporary assignment will the appeal of these things lose their grip on our lives. We are preparing for something even better. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t now will last forever. 1 peter 5:8. The facts that earth is not our ultimate home explains why, as followers of Jesus, we experience difficulty, sorrow, and rejection in this world. It also explains why some of God’s promises seem unfulfilled, some prayers seem unanswered, and some circumstances seem unfair. This is not the end of the story.
In order to keep us from becoming too attached to earth, God allows us to feel a significant amount of discontent and dissatisfaction in life-longings that will never be fulfilled on this side of eternity. We’re not completely happy here because we are not supposed to be here! Earth is not our final home; we were created for something much better.
Realizing that life on earth is a temporary assignment should radically alter your values. Eternal values, not temporal ones. As C.S Lewis observed, All that is not eternal is eternally useless. It is a fatal mistake to assume that God’s goal for your life is material prosperity or popular success, as the world defines it. The abundance life has nothing to do with material abundance, and faithfulness to God does not guarantee success in career or even in ministry. Never focus on temporary crowns.
Millions of faithful people have been martyred, have lost everything, or have come to the end of life with nothing to show for it. In God’s eyes, the greatest heroes of faith are not those who achieve prosperity, success, and power in this life, but those who treat this life as a temporary assignment and serve faithfully, expecting their promised reward in eternity.
When life gets tough, when you’re overwhelmed with doubt, or when you wonder if living for Christ is worth the effort, remember that you are not home yet. At death you won’t leave home-you’ll go home. Be Blessed.