“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” – Mark 17-20
Eternal life is a great objective, as long as it starts today and doesn’t reach too far into the future. So many of us make deals with the future. If I can just have this now, I’ll do that then. Buy now, pay later, put it on my spiritual credit card, I’ll pay it off monthly, or at least I’ll pay the interest.
Eternity doesn’t come later; it comes now. Eternity has that big sound, like a thunderstorm that will come later in the day, or something grand that is just beyond our reach. The truth about eternity is that it is connected to now. There is no later when it comes to eternity. It can’t be postponed. It is 7:45 in the morning, as I write, and this moment is connected, eternally, to the next.
So how do we have eternal life this morning? Especially as we run out to collect our paycheck, find bargains, stretch our resources so they will last, fill our barns, avoid costs? I enjoy spending my days as a security sleuth, a bargain hunter, a postponer of the important on behalf of the immediate. Jesus said, watch out for wealth. It can get in your way. He also was no fan of poverty. He fed the poor and met the fugitive with bread. You figure. But figure now, not later. What is important is already here.
Show me what I must do, O God. And then give me eternal life. Amen.
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her latest book is Prayers for People Who Say They Can’t Pray.