"I want to hold the things of this world loosely," my father often said when I was growing up. To do that, we live, perhaps unconsciously, making our choices on the basis of this question: " In eternity's light, what will have seemed important?"
Missionary nurse Edith Moules gave her life ministering to the lepers in Africa. When she returned to her home in England, she had a small cyst removed. The biopsy showed it benign, but when another growth came back and was larger, she had a fair idea of the nature of the problem. Yet she made preparations and once again flew off to the Congo.
When her next furlough rolled around, the diagnosis, as she had suspected, was cancer.
After surgery, the doctor gave her an ultimatum. She could perhaps live another two years if she would give up her active life and take good care of herself. If not, she might live no more than six months. When she retorted she would not give up her work, the doctor replied that she did not understand. If she did not give up her work, she would only have six months to live.
Edith answered, "Yes, but you see, the lepers are my life."
The doctor, deeply touched said, "Mrs. Moules, your proposal is simply crazy. But if I were in your place, I think I would do the same!"
Edith returned to her ministry. God graciously gave her fourteen months and her activity was ceaseless.
In eternity, we'll give thanks if we worked while others wasted time, studied while others slept, prayed while others played. These outward disciplines are often expressions of inner disciplines which indicate whether we are living for the seen or the unseen.
Dear Lord, give us wisdom and grace to live for the unseen.
"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18).