Eternal Perspective: What Is Your View?

Christian leadership can be described in many ways. It is servant leadership. It is Christ-centered and it is Bible-focused. Some will say it needs to be meek, gracious, or based on love. But there is one phrase that I seldom hear used in describing Christian leadership. That phrase is Eternal Perspective.

eternal perspective

Serious Oversight

Maybe it is just not a familiar term to most people. Maybe the thought itself is somewhat foreign. Or maybe we have just gone so far to the extreme in our immediate-gratification culture that this idea of having an eternal perspective doesn’t even cross our mind.

Either way, I think this is a serious oversight.

Christian Leadership

In my last couple of posts, I have been attempting to describe Christian leadership. I started in the first post by explaining how it really just boils down to influence – borrowing a quote from John Maxwell – and that we ALL are called to be Christian leaders in our circles of influence. In the next post, I told you how I believe Christian leaders must be intentional.

Today, I want to dig a little into this idea of an eternal perspective and tell you why I believe it should truly be a foundational part of effective Christian leadership. I hope you will come to understand this idea a little better as a result.

Eternal Perspective

First, let’s describe what I mean when I say eternal perspective. Basically, having an eternal perspective means that as we make decisions or take actions, we consider how they will impact us and others in eternity.

Rather than thinking about how a decision will look in 30 days, we think about what it will look like in 3,000 years (and beyond). When trying to decide how to run our business or allocate our resources, we do not merely look at how it will affect our retirement, but also how it will impact eternity.

Scripture Example

Whenever possible, I want to go to Scripture to get our direction. Let’s look at Paul’s words to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:7-8.

Rather, train yourself in godliness, for the training of the body has a limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

…The Life To Come

Notice how Paul acknowledges that godliness has benefits for our present life in this world while also for the life to come! This is the perfect example of having an eternal perspective. Training the body also has benefits here, but not so much in the life to come.

So if Paul is recommending this kind of eternal perspective mindset to Timothy, why would it not work in the business world? Why would it not make sense for us to think the same way as we approach every aspect of our lives today – work, school, church, etc.?

Eternal Perspective In Business?

I think it does work. As an example, it is natural for a business owner to think about employees as critical to the success of the business. When viewing it from an eternal perspective, the thinking changes. No longer is an employee ONLY critical to the success of the business. Now the employee is also a soul that needs to find a relationship with God in order to spend eternity with Him.

I do not think this should result in forcing employees to believe in Jesus (won’t happen!). Instead, you can simply provide the resources that would allow (even encourage) it. Resources such as a chaplain program or regular lunch & learn Bible studies could be part of your efforts. Not only will your employees be impacted for eternity, there are productivity and other benefits here and now.

Critical To Following Jesus

I am convinced this kind of thinking from an eternal perspective is critical. In fact, I do not believe we can effectively follow Jesus Christ and think otherwise. For us to attempt to truly follow Jesus while only thinking about the short-term results of our actions or decisions may just be impossible. I think Luke 9:62 fits here:

Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Not Easy!

The difficulty in this thinking from an eternal perspective – and I promise you there is difficulty – is that the world does not think this way. Because of this, the rewards of this world often come to those who think short-term. In this context, short-term is any time-frame on this side of eternity.

I tell you this not to discourage you but to set realistic expectations. Do not begin applying this eternal perspective to your work and expect worldly success as a result. They are not connected.

Eternity In Our Hearts

Instead, recognize that God put eternity into our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and that is how He expects us to think. The more we think from an eternal perspective, the more our decisions and actions will reflect it. When that happens, the rewards will come in God’s way (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).

Does the eternal perspective make sense to you?

When do you find it the most challenging?

What victories can you name as a result of this thinking?

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  • These two quotes stuck out to me:”Not only will your employees be impacted for eternity, there are productivity and other benefits here and now.” “Do not begin applying this eternal perspective to your work and expect worldly success as a result. They are not connected.” I think this is a common confusion. Impacting others for eternity brings benefit now. BUT, focusing on eternity does not bring worldly results. Although, perhaps it seems that way at times? Perhaps more discussion on this?

    As to your questions, The eternal perspective does make sense to me, way more sense than any other perspective, actually. This is, I think, because it’s the only perspective that has brought completeness and joy and purpose. What I find the most challenging is living in a time-bound world with a culture focused on success here and now while being able to live with an eternal perspective. So contradictory at times. Often feel conflicted. But, there are victories as a result of having an eternal perspective. First of all, the numbers don’t drive me. When i falter and they do, I am miserable. Knowing that I am living in God’s will drives me when my focus stays on the eternal. I can also know that there can be rest and peace in the midst of chaos and struggle.

    This was a challenging post for me. Got me thinking about why i do what I do, focus how I focus, etc. We need to think about why we think the way we do.

  • Sheldon Bass

    1. Makes perfect sense.
    2. It becomes challenging to maintain an eternal perspective, when I get too focused on how things make me feel. I allow circumstances to lead my actions, rather than being a good influence and make a positive difference to change those circumstances. Sounds a lot like the flesh against the Spirit, right?
    3. When maintaining an eternal perspective, I realize greater meaning and purpose for my life, resulting in an infectious, supercharging passion being applied to everything I do. Direction becomes lucid.

    • You are absolutely right, Sheldon! It is better for us, but much more difficult to maintain.