Mike Scott, a friend from high school daze, took this pic of a New Mexico sunrise when he had to get up. Sunrises and sunsets so blend beauty and brevity. Their glory changes almost by the second—I’ve often called Sheila to see one, and in the 20 seconds before she gets there it’s changed, or gone.
That’s life—as slow as it seems to go looking ahead, it’s fast in the passing. When I started high school it felt like the three years to graduation would take forever, but just two weeks ago we celebrated our 50th year reunion. It feels like maybe 15 years.
I love the fancy word “ephemeral,” meaning short-lived, brief, or momentary, and I need regular reminders that life’s like that ephemeral sunrise of Mike’s. Otherwise, I tend to focus on the short term, which comes and goes so swiftly, and ignore the long term, which also does comes swiftly, but it holds far more significance.
Granted, we need to balance the present and the future. Some present issues have great importance, like paying bills if we want to live under a roof. But blend in thinking of the future. Here are some tips.
1. Don’t put off doing important items that don’t seem critical to do now. Bucket lists can be a good thing, if we choose wisely. Otherwise, we may move beyond the period we can accomplish them.
2. Invest in people. This lasts, and has more value than our finances and careers. Take time to build connections, perhaps saying no to some career options. Balance having peers, where we mutually support each other, with helping others when we gain nothing in return.
3. Invest in God. Jesus convicted me with this, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20).
Focusing on our ephemeral life can blind us to our eternal life. Perhaps we need to carefully and prayerfully and intentionally evaluate our lives with this in mind, and consider changes we can make in the ephemeral that will benefit the eternal. The ephemeral life doesn’t last that long, really. But the eternal life lasts a long time.
Kick Starting the Application
Evaluate how you spend your time and resources, and what they most benefit—the ephemeral or eternal. Keep in mind we need both, but one has more significance. Do you need just some minor tweaks or an extreme makeover? What areas can you change in the next week or so? In the next month or so?