What Are The Costs Of An Eternal Perspective?

In my last three posts, I focused on a five-question decision making process. At the very outset of the decision making series, I explained my belief that any decision made from anything but an eternal perspective fails to honor God. One reader, Bernice, commented that she agreed with this, but that I should also point out that there is a cost associated with this line of thinking!

eternal perspective

Eternal Perspective Costs

Her exact words follow:

I hope in this series you also will cover the “cost” of making decisions with more than a temporal perspective, because as sure as breath – there is a cost involved.

Bernice, you are absolutely right about that! There is a definite cost involved in making eternal decisions in a temporal world. Sometimes this cost is not immediately evident. Other times there is not a delay at all. Either way, there are costs. As Bernice states, you can be sure of that.

Eternal Perspective Decisions?

Let’s first attempt to determine what we are really talking about when we say we should make decisions from an eternal perspective and how it applies to a business. As with many topics like this, we can see it on several levels.

The first thing most people think about when trying to apply this thinking to a business environment is integrity. For example, a business customer sends you payment for an invoice…twice. Do you send it back or cash it and wait for them to ask about it?

This decision on what to do with the second check can be considered from an eternal perspective – what decision would honor God? It could also be considered from a temporal perspective – what is best for me in the short-term?

More Significant Decisions

While it is true that these kinds of decisions fit into this eternal perspective category (and carry a cost), the decisions I really want to dig into are a little more significant. Instead of fairly simple integrity decisions, I want to look more at vision and strategy decisions.

Folks, I have said repeatedly in various ways on this blog that I believe your job, your business, or your leadership position is a gift AND responsibility from God. I believe, just like in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), that He expects us to invest them for eternal return – return that survives the fire (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

Eternal vs. 30 Day Return

In order for us to gain an eternal return, we must make our decisions from an eternal perspective. If investing in the stock market and hoping for a long-term gain, you do not buy stock in a company that only offers a quick return with no likelihood of long term growth. The same is true in making business decisions from an eternal perspective.

Rather than running your business solely by the numbers and the promise of a 30-day return, the one making decisions from an eternal perspective tries to determine the effects of his decision 1,000 years or more from now. If I decide to…(fill in the blank), how will that impact the eternity of my employees, customers, or members of the community?

Walk As Jesus Did

More specifically, as Bible-believing disciples of Christ, our charge is to walk as He did. In doing that, we are to seek and save that which is lost. We are to go and make more disciples, teaching them about him. If our business decisions are not in sync with these responsibilities, then we are making bad decisions. It is as simple as that.

Short Term Is Rough!

The problem with this line of thinking is that the short-term can get rough when you are choosing the long term return. Financial results may suffer in the short term. Business associates may abandon you because they do not understand your reasoning and feel threatened. Employees may choose to leave to chase higher short term returns because they are not viewing things the same way you are. For more examples of these costs, see my post on 10 Pitfalls.

Worse than that, close friends or family members may see you as crazy. Losing the support of people you count on for strength can often be one of the more painful costs of making eternally minded decisions. Being unable to adequately explain your reasoning to someone who simply cannot see the same spiritual truths as you can – that is a tough pill to swallow.

What Is The Upside?

Enough of the downside! What is the upside to making decisions from an eternal perspective? Fortunately, there is plenty to talk about! All we have to do is look to Scripture for that!

First, look back at 1 Corinthians 3:14. While the fire will test our work, all that survives the fire will bring reward! Those things that survive will not be the short-term results we sought during our brief lives on earth. Instead, it will be the relationships with people that we pointed toward Christ.

Now take a look at Matthew 6:19-20. If we seek the treasures here on earth, they will not last. Whether it is due to moths, rust, or thieves, these treasures will not last. However, our heavenly treasure (as a result of eternal minded decisions) will last!

Finally, look at John 16:33. Jesus promises His followers that we will have trouble in this world. It is guaranteed! At the same time, He says that He has overcome this world! The costs of making decisions from an eternal perspective, though real, will not last long. Jesus will wipe them out!

Are you making decisions from an eternal perspective?

Are you experiencing the costs we are discussing here?

What drives you to continue making these decisions?

Photo by anyaberkut/iStock

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • I know from experience this point is the hardest fro Christian businesses (and even churches) to grasp. We live in an instant gratification world. We want our profit realized and clearly evident now. But as the world recently experienced: instant profit also is followed by instant loss as well (i.e. housing bubble burst, stock market collapse, banking failures, etc. of 2008-2009). After reading David Green’s and Truett Cathy’s stories, the key was growth came through consistent focused vision to honor God. Both are privately held and successful because of undaunted leadership that set the course… Stay the course Chris, there are those who will follow.

  • Bernice

    I’ve often said that running a business is one of the biggest faith journey’s I’ve ever been on. When it comes to making decisions from an eternal perspective, and the cost involved, there is also the role of faith when difficulties come as a result. Trials and difficulties serve to strengthen the development of our faith which will be the “mirror of His glory” when we finally meet him. I Peter 1:1-12

    • You are right again, Bernice. We are being conformed to His likeness and these costs are actually gains in that process!

  • Great post Chris! A recent book I read that really helps bring perspective on this thought process (which I daily have to work on), is 20,000 days and Counting by Robert D. Smith. It is a short read, but a powerful one about living each day as it’s our last. You can go to his website: http://www.therobertd.com/the-book/ and input your birthday to see how many days you’ve lived. Thanks for adding so much value to so many of us Chris!

    • Thanks Stephen! I will take a look. I appreciate your encouragement!

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