1 Corinthians 7:31
(From now on let) those who deal with the world live as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.
Each of us has only one life. This is it. Our time is valuable and our face-to-face meeting with the Lord is imminent and real. As Paul writes, “The appointed time has grown very short … For the present form of this world is passing away.”
How shall we live?
Mourn as Though We are Not Mourning
We mourn. We are sad over great losses – e.g., family, friends, health, dreams. Yet we mourn as though we are not mourning because we know that we cannot lose our ultimate treasure – Christ’s love. Thus, our losses don’t destroy us. We say, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Our losses are modest. We lose now, but win in eternity.
We rejoice. We take joy in the thousands of good gifts from God. Beautiful weather. Great food and friends. Art and music. Yet we know that these things cannot satisfy our souls. Only Christ can. Even our present fellowship with him is a mere foretaste: “Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.” Thus, our joys are modest. They give us tastes of what is to come.
We buy things. We don’t withdraw from commerce. Yet business doesn’t possess us. We don’t love money. Our cars, homes, e-readers, iPhones – we hold them loosely. If they are taken, we sense that they were never really ours because Christ is more valuable than anything money can buy. We’re not here on earth to own things; we’re here to lay up treasures in heaven.
Deal With The World as Though We Have No Dealings With It
We engage with the world. We don’t avoid it or approach it with spiritual dichotomies. Yet we don’t ascribe final greatness to it. We know that there are unseen things that are vastly more precious than the world. We work with all our hearts, but our full passions belong to the heavenly kingdom.
Lord, our lives are short and precious. Let us, therefore, live in death’s inevitability so that we mourn and rejoice and buy and engage as though we are not mourning or rejoicing or buying or engaging. Grow us deep in you as our ultimate treasure. Amen.