I am not a mathematician, but I have always liked the simplicity of math – especially those formulas that are clear and easy to understand. Though you will not find this in any math textbook, I think I have found a formula that clearly and simply explains our lives here on earth. See if you agree.
First, I want you to think of all of the possible pursuits you could explore in a lifetime. This list could include common pursuits such as business, family, fitness, adventure, etc. You could also add others like philanthropy, healthcare, and even religion. This list is essentially endless.
Which of these are pursuits that are part of your life? Why have you chosen them? What value do you think is created by pursuing them? If you were to look back hundreds of years from now, what value do you think you will see in your pursuit of these interests?
That last question is a tough one, isn’t it?
An Eternal Purpose = An Eternal Impact
Here is my point. I believe the only value we will see in looking back at these pursuits will be the eternal impact we had on other people during the course of these activities. In other words, unless there is an eternal purpose to these pursuits, I question whether there is any value at all.
So, let’s take our businesses as an example. If I am pursuing business for the sole purpose of profiting my family and raising my quality of life, what value will I see in that hundreds of years from now? To make this picture more vivid, what value will I see in this pursuit as I lay on my deathbed?
Instead, assume I am pursuing business for the eternal purpose of glorifying God, pointing others to Him, what value will I see hundreds of years from now? Sure, there will still be benefits during my lifetime here. There will likely even be benefits to my family after I exit this life. But the true value will be in the lives impacted and pointed to God and an eternal relationship with Him.
Will anything else really matter hundreds of years from now?
I think you could follow this same line of thinking with any of the pursuits on the endless list of possibilities. When it all boils down, I believe that the only value we can create that will truly last is eternal impact on the lives around us. I believe Scripture backs this up.
Consider 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. Paul basically says that any work we do in this life that cannot survive God’s fire will burn up. That includes anything physical. At the same time, anything we have done in this life that is eternal will survive His fire and we will be rewarded for it.
I really do not think there is any way around this.
Take any pursuit on our list. If you change the “purpose” of it, you can add value. Pursue sports for the purpose of interacting with others to point them to God and you are adding value. Pursue family so you can train them in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6) and you are adding value.
Take any of these pursuits and do them for an eternal purpose and you are adding value that will remain even after hundreds of years. If you remove the eternal purpose from any of these pursuits – even religion – then you remove all of its value.
As a result of my thinking along this line, here is my formula:
[Any Pursuit] – Eternal Purpose = 0 Value
Paul understood this formula when he wrote his letter to the Colossians. Here are his words:
Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.
Do the Math
I encourage you to pray about this as it relates to your own life – especially in your business. If you are fully committed to leveraging your business for eternal returns, then you will be amazed at how God will use it and the influence that comes with it.
Employees, their families, your customers…the list goes on. These are all people that you can impact for eternity through the operation of your business. Follow Paul’s advice and begin running your business “enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men…” Like he said, if you do this you can KNOW “that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord.”
You serve the Lord Christ.
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