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The Future

The past is past, the present is a present so use it well, and the best way to live the present is with the future in mind. Well said and hopefully well lived out.

If life is compared to a week, each day represents ten years for a person who lives to three score and ten years mentioned in Psalms 90:10.

At 60, I am on my Saturday and have more years in the past than in the future.

I remember at age 30 already being concerned about building for the future, and I was thinking of something really future – life in the hereafter spent in eternity with God. I had read a book entitled “Living for what really matters”, which challenged me to identify what truly are the important things I want to accomplish in this life.

It was easy to identify what I wanted. But it was far from easy to identify what God wanted of me.

From young, I had come to experience God in a real way and knew that He had a purpose for me. But what was it?

One Christian missionary gave a talk on what he wanted to hear in eulogies about him at his funeral wake. What would I be most happy and proud of when I look back at what I have accomplished in my life? These would be the important things I should set my heart upon.

But even this exercise would not be sufficient to ensure that you are identifying the truly valuable things. It is all too easy to think about what are important from your present viewpoint. Material success, to be loved by family and friends, good health, respect and recognition of people you value, happiness and peace of mind. These are the usual “blessings” sought after by almost everyone. And it is perfectly natural from the present earthbound viewpoint.

But what if we adopt a “future” viewpoint and in this case, the future meaning not a life on earth but the Biblical teaching of eternal life with God?

Many of us imagine eternity as a continuation of the hoped for good life on earth i.e. a good family life, good health, friends, hobbies, good sex, etc.

What if eternity is not these at all? After all, Jesus said there is no marriage and sex in the life hereafter, there is no ill health at all because there is no more pain or sickness. What if the greatest “happiness” in the hereafter is worship and communion / fellowship with God?

Wouldn’t the best way to prepare for the future then, be like what the apostle Paul stated as his ambition – that I may know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering being like Him in His death?

This ambition is evidently different from the ambitions of many others, which have to do largely with building a good life here – houses, land, large bank accounts, holidays, good dining, wining and sex, etc. Even a good family life here does not naturally take first place. Many of those who have their eyes on the future did not even start a family of their own.

Why am I talking about the future in this way, and yet spending so much time in the present doing the things that many others are doing – working, doing business, raising a family?

The reason is that these “works” qualify as the “good works” which God has given us to do for the blessing of men, that man may see and experience these good works and glorify God in heaven. Mat. 5:12 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

The thing which will make God truly happy with us is when others come to believe in His existence because of the way we go about our life. And we can only impact others positively if our lives are lived with eternity’s values in view. We are to be “holy” or set apart for God in the way we live our lives here.

The challenge operating in the financial services industry is to work for clients’ interest first. This is the credo of many firms and advisers, but only paid lip service to.

While we all agree on the importance of professionalism and giving trusted advice, we can only deliver if we take it as a sacred credo. Clients deserve the best of our intentions and attention, to protect not only their present but their future.

There’s the word again – the future.

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