Learning For Forever

God has seen fit to bring significant diversity to Grace Fellowship Church. Every Sunday we worship as a community of Christians that spans the world, its continents, and its cultures. Yet for all this diversity, we remain a young church that has consistently had trouble drawing and keeping older believers. While we do have some seniors, we definitely have too few—too few for our liking, at least, and too few for a church of several hundred people.

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I recently spent a little bit of time with an older believer and was struck again by some of what we lose in a younger church. I was touched by the most mundane observation: She was reading her Bible. She was reading her Bible so she could better know and serve her God. This simple act touched and challenged me.

See, I often read my Bible as a means to an end. I want to live a better life, I want to live a life that is pleasing to God, and I read the Bible to teach and equip myself to do this. This is a very good reason to read the Bible. But it made me think: As I get toward the end of life, will I still want to read it? When I have little life left to live, will I still have reason to take up and read my Bible? If the purpose in reading is to live better, what will I do after I’ve already lived most of my life?

As I sat with this woman, I realized that she was reading her Bible for a different reason—she was reading her Bible to better get to know the God she would soon meet face-to-face. She was reading the same book but for a different purpose. She knows she will be seeing him soon, and she wants to be prepared. The nearer she is to God, the greater her longing to know him, to know him as he is. She is not passively waiting to see him face-to-face but meeting him now in the pages of his living and active Word. She believes that what she knows of God on this side of the grave will not end at the grave. While she may have little life left to live and little time remaining to improve her life, she has the rest of eternity to grow in her understanding and knowledge of God. She has the rest of eternity to grow in her relationship with God. So why not make a significant beginning now?

So yes, I need to read God’s Word to live a life that is pleasing to God. But I also need to read God’s Word to know the God I will enjoy for eternity. What I learn about God is not just for this life. What I know of God is not only for now. It is for forever.

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