The thirteen-year-old son of a billionaire is now a billionaire and already owns several hundred million. But unfortunately he has no access to his account until his eighteenth birthday. In addition, his parents’ securities are in a dive. The property shrinks and shrinks. Although the boy is extremely rich, he wonders if he will ever get the benefit of this wealth. At the moment, he is at a boarding school where no special rights are granted to him.
The pursuit of what remains
Man wants to create something permanent. Life is finite, of which we are all aware. Therefore we try to move something that is important beyond our own life and death. Some strive for fame, others for wealth, and others for a life’s work. Everyone wants to leave traces in this world. Even though it is expressed in a variety of ways, most people have the deepest wish that their lives in this world will do anything to make them admired and remain unforgotten after their death. A life which has no effect in this world and is immediately forgotten after death, seems senseless.
Thus the businessman tries to build up an empire and pass it on to a worthy successor. He wants his legacy to be admired for centuries.
The proud parents leave nothing untried to promote their child and to create to him all possibilities which were denied to them themselves. They want their child to be grateful to them for life – even when they are no longer alive.
Artists, politicians and athletes want to make a memorable name. They want to enter the history as someone who has done extraordinary things.
What really remains?
Who do we remember 100 years after his death? If we are honest, we must stand that these are very few. Even respectable people, who have worked very well for the well-being of the community, are quickly forgotten.
And after 1000 years? What will remain until then? Even most kings and presidents are forgotten. Even if we can still find their names in some chronicles, we hardly recognize that their lives have any effect on us.
Life goes by and the traces we leave are all too quickly disappeared. The earth continues to spin. It is a fact that we have to face: no one will miss us a few decades after our death. To what extent can we regard our lives as meaningful at all? Are we living in the end only for the moment and make our contribution to the success of a fully functioning society?
Gaining a perspective for eternity
The yearning for the enduring has always driven man. Jesus also met this desire. At this point, it is important to understand that Jesus did not condemn the desire to do anything important. Rather, he helped his fellow human beings to gain the right perspective, so that their actions could be preserved forever. He said (Matthew 6: 19 + 20): “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust5 destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
In other words, Jesus told us that in our quest to create something lasting, we would be unsuccessful until we take the perspective of heaven. All that we achieve in this world will ultimately be perishable. But what we reach for heaven will be eternal.
What does that mean specifically?
The key to achieving something for heaven is that I establish a relationship with God. This is done by recognizing that we need Him. It is the unwavering gift of God, which, despite our unworthiness, we can be a part of his family. Whoever invites Jesus to become part of his life will find through Him a real relationship with God.
From this relationship we will understand the “works of heaven” more and more. When we do these works, we will – often without even realizing it – make a difference that will have a great significance far beyond our death.