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Echoes in Eternity

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11a NIV)

Ever since I can remember, my life’s goal has been to become a published author. I wrote my first story in Kindergarten, and it won a prize (mostly because no other Kindergartener could write a story). Some things haven’t changed – my stories are still about knights, dragons and princesses – but other things are different. I’ve always had other work to do. I’ve let making friends, meeting a boyfriend, getting married, having kids take precedence over my dream. I still have time, I tell myself, and it’s true (Lord willing and the crick don’t rise). But I do myself and others a disservice if I act like those other things haven’t been important.

In the movie Gladiator, General Maximus (played by Russell Crowe) inspires his troops prior to a battle by telling them, “What we do in life echoes in eternity.” I mean, the word “telling” doesn’t even do justice to his rousing speech. He is urging them on to feats of valor in the service of Rome. Those are the kinds of accomplishments I think of as “echoing in eternity.” I want to do something like that. I want to write a book that will speak truth into the lives of thousands of people for generations to come. Yet that desire, while noble and even good, smacks more of wanting human fame than truly wanting to echo in eternity.

You see, God tells us exactly what kinds of things will matter after this life is over. He has put eternity in our hearts, as King Solomon says, so he knows that we desire to make a difference that matters forever. But the things of this world, including fame, will matter much less to us in Heaven than we think. What will matter? – Faith. (Hebrews 11:6 NIV) – Faithfulness. (Colossians 3:23-24 NIV) – Obedience. (John 14:23 NIV) – And above all, Love. (1 Corinthians 13:13, Matthew 22:37-39)

Notice that nothing about God’s requirements are specific to any vocation. In fact, they’re mostly about relationships – our relationships with God and with one another. You can develop these wherever you are in life. Students, store clerks, stay-at-home moms and dads, baristas, programmers, high-powered CEOs, professional athletes – no matter who you are and how your position looks to the world, you can work on the things that will echo in eternity. Though I haven’t been writing as much I would have liked, I have been cultivating eternal rewards more precious than any human fame.

I still believe that God has called me to write. I hope he will grant me human success in doing it, but if he doesn’t, I am still being faithful to his calling by writing. Most importantly, I need not regret what I’ve been doing in the meantime, because it is no less important.

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