A pastor friend of mine in Tennessee had a cross-stitched hanging on his living room wall that simply read “PASSING AWAY”. Being in my early 20’s at the time, I thought that was just a zealous saying; impractical to consider. I was just beginning get the things I wanted. But through the years, the experiences of life have enlightened me a bit. Careers, family, friends, finances, health, respect, human love; all seem to live so briefly. They appear and then disappear long before we are ready for them to.
I happened on a radio program last week. The speaker, the late Adrian Rodgers, was encouraging listeners to make a list of all the things (we have) that money couldn’t buy and that death could not take away. I thought on this for a good while and could only arrive at a very short list that met both criteria. Essentially these things would have to be both un-purchased, that is gifts, and eternal. Three scriptures came to mind. The first clearly sets out three things that are eternal: Faith, Hope, and Love:
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (I Corinthians 13:12, NASB)The second explains the eternal basis for the first three, the Word of God:
The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever. (Isaiah 40:8, NASB)The third gives us the benefit of the greatest of Faith, Hope, and Love:
38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38, NASB)So, here is my short list:
- God’s love, graciously shown to me when I was without hope, and had no use for Him;
- God’s righteousness, freely give to me through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One;
- Fellowship with God now, in this life;
- An enduring Hope: Eternal life in the presence of the One who has given these gifts.
Scripture Quotations from the New American Standard Bible.