I’ve recently been asking what it means for me to live for the next life, while I live very much in this life. It’s just coming down to simple faith for me. It takes faith to pin everything on something you can’t see. It takes faith to give up the passing pleasures of this world in order to maximize the next life. There ARE easier ways to live. It may be the harder route, the narrower way, the lonelier place.
But I’m incredibly blessed to be able to look around me and see examples of people that are living for the next life. Literally storing their treasures there. And the crazy thing is, they are the happiest people. Their lives say – “HE IS WORTH IT”.
Mostly they are tucked away in an office building, or behind the kitchen sink, or just doing really normal things – but living faithful, obedient, glory-filled lives.
Patty works for Life Action, in the same office building that I work in. She works in Data Processing, and arguably just as beneficial to the ministry, she hosts the ministry wide candy dish. Well, its more of a snack buffet really. And all 90+ people in the building here are free to partake. And you can’t escape the buffet without a radiant smile from Patty.
I was recently down at the candy dish and was stopped by a conversation she was having with someone else.
“That’s the second time my mower was stolen. I told the policeman that I would have just given it to them if they would have asked!” She beamed as she told the story.
Learning that she lives alone in a needy area of South Bend, I asked for a lunch date. And over bowls of soup in the local coffee shop, she just shared from her life and I remember thinking, “I pray that I live this faithful of a life.”
She’d say, “Liza, make sure you have extra hats and gloves on hand in the winter, because you’ll see children that are cold and you’ll just want to pull a hat down over their head and wipe their snotty nose.” or “They need to know that you love them, and even more that you like them and enjoy spending time with them.”
She laughs as she tells stories of picking up hitchhikers, not always, just when she feels led to. No fear at all. No thought to herself whatsoever.
It’s unimaginable to her that people would withhold love from someone based on what they look like. That we would show more love to someone in a suit than someone with tattered clothes.
I put my soup spoon down and start to understand why Patty is incorrigibly joyful. Apparently this verse applies to the total sum of one’s life.
Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. Luke 6:38
And Patty has used a big measure as she gives away her life in a less-than-flashy corner of South Bend. And she would be the first to tell you that its only in response to being loved by Jesus. And, maybe a modern day Hebrews 11 would look something like this… “by faith, Patty, considered her life safe in Christ and risked it to love her neighbor as herself”
And then, directly to me, “Liza, since you are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares you, and run with endurance the race that is set before you, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12
What does it mean for you to live for the next life and store your treasure and what your heart values in heaven?