Eyes on Jesus

Opening Prayer: 

Lord, help me never to get so caught up in the things of this world so that I lose sight of eternity and our true home with you. Keep me grounded in your word and make me salt and light for a lost, dying world.

 

Read: Hebrews 11:15-16a, NIV

15 "If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one.”

 

Reflect:   

Years ago, my father had spent considerable time tracing our family lineage. He found that we were truly descendants of the pilgrims off the Mayflower that landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620. As you look back at American History, it appears that the pilgrims left a more predictable, comfortable life to pursue one in a new world they knew nothing about. What we believe drove them to put all their money and resources together and journey across the sea to live was the hope of freely exercising their faith here. I see many parallels to the pilgrims and the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. These characters, as well as the pilgrims, saw themselves as citizens of a place they had never seen. The promise that God would sustain and deliver them trumped the comforts of staying in familiar lands.

Anytime we decide to follow Christ or obey God, we are aiming at the devil’s kingdom, since God gave him dominion at the fall of man. The image of “not looking back” reminds us of the image in scripture when God warned Lot and his family, “not to look back” as they fled Sodom. The consequence for Lot’s wife looking back was that she became a pillar of salt. When we look back, it is often because we long for the past and are eager to get away from our current sufferings. The past always seems easier because we know it. Keeping our eyes focused on heaven, much like the heroes of the Bible, keeps us on track for God’s purposes. What an amazing thing to look forward to our heavenly home that God has prepared for us. Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) exhorts us: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

 

Apply: 

You have heard it said that you can find your priorities by reviewing your checkbook ledger or credit card statements. Does your spending reflect more investment in this life or the next? It sounds rather trite, but if you begin to review the “things” you have here on earth as decisions “not” to invest in the kingdom of God, do these things appear as valuable? Review 10 or 20 random items in your checkbook and give it a try.

 

Closing Prayer: 

Father, I thank you that you sent your son to go and prepare a place for us in eternity. Though there are days that we get consumed by the cares of this world, help me to set my eyes on eternity and how I can make a difference for your kingdom now. Amen.

 

Terry Schneider