What Are You Living For, the Dot or the Line?

As I have said before, I loved this book.  Here are some more reasons why.

After reading Randy Alcorn’s “Money Possessions and Eternity”, I feel convicted that I need to change the way I think about my time here on this earth.

I feel like my thoughts are captured in this song by Matt Redman, “Take the World and Give Me Jesus”:

I’ve thrown it all away that I might gain a life in You
I’ve found all else is loss compared to the joys of knowing You
Your beauty and Your majesty are far beyond compare
You’ve won my heart, now this will be my prayer
(CHORUS)
Take the world, but give me Jesus
You’re the treasure in this life
Take the world, but give me Jesus
Is my cry
Now I’ve seen You as the Savior, I will leave the rest behind
Take the world, but give me Jesus is my cry
Into the world I go that I might live this life of love
I won’t be overcome, for You are in me and You are strong
For time and for eternity, I know I’m in Your care
You’ve won my heart, now this will be my prayer

You’ve won my heart, now this will be my prayer.

That pretty much says how I feel.  God has my heart. We have gone through a lot of thick and thin together and we will continue to do so until I finally run into His embrace (and run I will) as I enter the gates of heaven.

But what am I doing here right now?  I’m preparing for my time with Him in eternity.

Randy Alcorn compares our time on earth and our time in eternity as a dot and a line.  Our time on earth is the dot and our time in eternity is the line.  The choices we make in the dot determine a lot about our time in the line. 

In the book “Money, Possessions, and Eternity” Alcorn encourages Christians to reevaluate what they are doing with their time, their stuff, and their money, here on earth.   

Do you remember where you are headed?  

– Are you living here fully aware of the fact that your time here is limited ?

-Or , have you pitched your tent as though you are staying here permanently? 

What are your answers to those questions?  Would your checkbook, your closets, and your schedule agree with you?

Hebrews 11:13 states: “All these [the people listed in the previous verses from the Old Testament] died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and EXILES on the earth. 14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.”

As a Christian I need to regularly bring these verses and the previous questions to the forefront of my mind.  I need to ask myself again and again,

“Where are you headed Heather?  Are you living on this earth as though it is a temporary home, the dot?  Or have you arrived?  Is this life your line?”

Randy Alcorn makes clear that money, possessions, and time are not evil.  They are made by God to be used.

 Sometimes He uses them as gifts to bless us.  In the Old Testament the multiplication of those things were often a sign of God’s favor.  In the New Testament money, possessions, and time (I’m thinking of Christians being thrown in jail or martyred even)  were often taken away because of a Christian’s allegiance to Jesus.  In this case the loss of money and possessions became like a sacrificial offering in the eyes of God.

Today, money, possessions, and time are given….and sometimes they are taken away.  Across the world money, possessions, and time are taken away from Christians persecuted for spreading the Gospel.  This is seen as a beautiful sacrifice in the eyes of God.  At the same time, there are also faithful Christians who have been blessed with an abundance of money, possessions and time.  They are using it faithfully and effectively to spread the Gospel and help those in need.

To be clear, money, possessions, and time are neutral.  They are tools given by God to His people to be held with open hands- to be used or given back as He directs.  “Negative” or “positive” describes our response to what He directs us to do with them.

Randy Alcorn also questions whether Christians have lost their sense of what “need” really is.   Has “need” been confused  confused with “want”?   What is the “why” behind a Christian’s desire to make more money and acquire more possessions?  Is it so the person can “fit in” with the rest of the world?  In one person or even one church’s attempt to be “culturally relevant”, to demonstrate that they are “just like everybody else”, have they gotten too comfortable?  Have they lost their “saltiness”? 

Matthew 5:13 warns:  “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”

Has the Christian and the Christian church lost their saltiness and passion for the lost over time as it has become more and more comfortable living in the land? 

Randy Alcorn implores Christians to use their time, money, and possessions to further the Gospel.  He encourages people to be fired up again with the urgency of a world around us filled with people who will be separated from God for all eternity if no one tells them about Christ.  He warns us to not be distracted by our pursuit for more money, more things, more time for ourselves if it means we lose our original purpose: to be temporary “aliens” living in the land for a time to tell others how they can be sure to live all of eternity with and not separated from, God .

A song called “We Are” sung by worship leader Kari Jobe reminds the Christian of her role here in the dot:

Every secret, every shame
Every fear, every pain
Live inside the dark
But that’s not who we are
We are children of the day

So wake up sleeper, lift your head
We were meant for more than this
Fight the shadows conquer death
Make the most of the time we have left

Chorus:
We are the light of the world
We are the city on a hill
We are the light of the world
We gotta, we gotta, we gotta let the light shine
We are the light of the world
We are the city on a hill
We are the light of the world
We gotta, we gotta, we gotta let the light shine
Let the light shine, let the light shine

We are called to spread the news
Tell the world the simple truth
Jesus came to save, there’s freedom in His Name
So let His love break through

How can we be the light of the world if we are encumbered by the pursuit of more and more possessions, tied to attaining and keeping our money, and wrapped up in building our own little kingdoms on this earth? 

Money, possessions, and time are temporary.  They are just tools used in this side of eternity.  They can be used to make ourselves comfortable and temporarily “fat and happy”.  Or they can be held loosely, shared with those in need, offered to the service of the Gospel so that many more lives will be living with God in the line. 

The relationship of human beings to possessions, money, and time tells God a lot about where our hearts are.  He often uses them as a chisel as He shapes us in the likeness of Christ.  It is up to us how we respond to His handiwork.

Are you living for the dot…or for the line?

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