Day 6: Life is a Temporary Assignment – 40 Days of Purpose-Driven Life

What on Earth Am I Here For?

Point to Ponder: This world is not my home.

Verse to Remember: “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”* 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV )

Question to Consider: How should the fact that life on earth is just a temporary assignment change the way I am living right now?

[Read More] thoughts on Day 6 of Rick Warren‘s Purpose-Driven Life* including the pursuit of happiness and heaven.

This is one of those raise times where I’ll actually answer (or at least discuss) today’s “Question to Consider.” What difference does heaven make, anyway? In a good way?

We’ve all heard about (or know) people who are “so heavenly minded they are no earthly good” — though pastors often complain of people who are “so earthy minded they are no heavenly good.” I don’t deny that such people exist, but I hope that those aren’t the only two options!

But, is it possible to seek heaven in a way that makes us better earthly citizens? I think so, and Rick offers a clue here:

“Your identity is in eternity, and your homeland in heaven. When you grasp this truth, you will stop worrying about ‘having it all’ on earth.”

In particular:

“With all the fascinating attractions, mesmerizing media, and enjoyable experiences available today, it’s easy to forget that the pursuit of happiness is not what life is about. 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.”

I must admit, I’m not entirely comfortable with his dismissal of “the pursuit of happiness.” However, I do agree that a self-centered pursuit of happiness (which is what Americans usually mean by that term) is both pointless and self-destructive. But, the premise of this blog is that true happiness is of a very different kind, what I call “radically happy”, or my pastor John isaacs calls “Supernaturally Happy.”

This more than just a subtle distinction of terminology. Rather, we are claiming that our naive understanding of happiness is fatally flawed, and that we can only achieve earthly happiness by counter-intuitively seeking to please God, rather than ourselves. Not that this necessarily means we will have an easy life, but:

“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.”

I completely agree with that. But, even more remarkable is that people who live that way — ignoring the trappings of this world in pursuit of genuine holiness — actually end up much happier than those who merely pursue “prosperity, success, and power.” As the saying goes:

Seek happiness from earth, and your life will become hell
But seek happiness from heaven, and you’ll get the earth as well
To be sure, not all who claim to seek heaven end up being of much earthly good. But, to me that is the test: does your vision of heaven help you (or me) better love people and care for creation? If not, then we’re probably trying to please the wrong God…

Prayer: God, forgive me both for getting so caught up in earthly things that I ignore you — and for getting so caught up in false religion that I ignore you! God, I want to know the heaven of living life with and for you; not the hell of living life with and for myself. Help me to turn my eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, that I am seek to serve God and man the way he did, and so open the doors of heaven. For it is in His name that I pray, Amen.